The term postmodernism refers to a movement of the second half of the 20th
century that replaced the era of modernity. The name of the movement is made
from the word components "post" (the prefix, which comes from Latin, means “after”) and "modern". The age of
postmodernism is thus the era of literary history following the age of modernity.
The exact beginning of this postmodern era cannot be precisely given but is generally placed around the middle of the
20th century. Postmodernism developed across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism. Postmodern critical approaches gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, and have been adopted in a variety of academic and theoretical disciplines, including cultural studies, philosophy of science, economics, linguistics, architecture, feminist theory, and literary criticism, as well as art movements in fields such as literature, contemporary art, and music.
Postmodern authors deal with the experience that we no longer find a
safe place in the modern world, but rather wander through the world looking
for roles and life models. This world is too complex and too difficult to
comprehend, which is why it is no longer possible for people to grasp reality and
commit themselves to the one truth.
Postmodernist film attempts to subvert the mainstream conventions of narrative structure and characterisation, and tests
the audience's suspension of disbelief. Typically, such films also break down the cultural divide between high and low
art and often upend typical portrayals of gender, race, class, genre, and time with the goal of creating something that
does not abide by traditional narrative rules.
Within a narrative, there are a number of features that can be identified as “postmodern”. Often they allow several ways
for the reader to read and understand a text. Even the genre of a postmodern story cannot always be clearly defined, as
postmodern works often contain a mix of different genres and styles.
A postmodern story is often told from the postmodern protagonist’s subjective perspective and what the narrator says may later turn out to be incorrect. Sometimes it is very difficult to
identify the character of the “hero”. They are often a social outsider. The possibility of a character’s positive
development is often denied in postmodern narrative, and the main character remains static in their behaviour. Sometimes
even the concept of a central protagonist is not clearly followed and the reader is no longer asked to identify with the
main character. This is often achieved by the narrator's ironic and distanced attitude towards the protagonist and his
or her story.
Postmodern narrative is not exclusively linear, but shows breaks and
jumps (flashbacks, interpretations, etc.). There is often a similarity to filmic techniques and editing techniques are
used for a variety of effects. Time accelerates and stretches or leaps around and the depiction of different
perspectives are characteristic of this. The plot is conveyed by a highly specific and at times unusual use of filmic language, often
used in ways characterised by rhythm and beauty. Postmodern authors also play with rhetorical devices and linguistic
structures, and often use intertextuality, making references to real historical events and other literary texts. In the
context of this intertextuality, references and quotations are often used. However, postmodern authors believe that
everything they write is a quotation because someone has written about it before them.