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Where Do We Go From Here? Conclusions and Community in the Postmodern American Novel
AuthorKnox, Paul D.
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Where Do We Go From Here?: Conclusions and Community in the Postmodern American Novel challenges the orthodox view that whatever is postmodern tends towards fragmentation, an assumption that grounds both primarily theoretical texts like JeanFrançois Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition and principle works of literary scholarship like Linda Hutcheon’s A Poetics of Postmodernism. My argument analyzes four novels that together span thirty-three years of the postmodern American novel: Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), Don DeLillo’s The Names (1983), Kathy Acker’s Don Quixote (1986), and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006). The communities each novel presents differ in composition, duration, and location yet share a common feature—the possibility for communication that carries with it the potential for cohesion. Because scholars have not considered the moments of cohesion in postmodern fiction, the prevailing understanding of the postmodern American novel and of postmodern theory remains inadequate. Fragmentation may be an important element of anything postmodern, but so too is community.