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Volume 1 Issue 4

September 2014

Posting the Hysterics: Re/Telling Reality in Postmodern Fiction
Ms. Neha Dubey, 
Department of English, 
Banaras Hindu University, 
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
The paper proposes to examine the oft-discussed literary genre ‘Hysterical Realism’ and its possibilities in postmodern fiction. The word ‘contemporary fiction’ can be used here against postmodern fiction but I deliberately use the phrase as it delineates the certain features and characteristics necessary to proliferate this embryonic genre. We can put some important elements of postmodern fiction as playfulness, black humour, intertexuality, flagrant shift in narrative voice, legitimating of cultural and historical references, maximalist prose or disorganized sprawling and emotionally disconnectedness; Thomas Pynchon is one of the n best exemplar because he deploys pop culture, war fiction, detective fiction, science fiction and mathematics in his writing. The other example can be Umberto Eco who in his fiction tries to negotiate future by combining more traditional past and present discourses blending medieval history, metafiction and theology. More or less postmodern shift stands against the traditional and normative discourses that is why it is claimed that Tristram Shandy and Finnegans Wake do not fit in the concept of novel as a self- contained or closed system, a perfect little world from beginning to end. Each belongs to certain genre of writing but to the endless proliferation of meanings.
Hysterical Realism; Magical Realism; Dirty Realism; Neorealism; Hyper-realism; Hysteria and Realism; Zadie Smith; David Foster Wallace; Don DeLillo; Thomas Pynchon.
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