'Let's act like sphinxes, however falsely, until we reach the point of no longer knowing who we are; for we are, in fact, false sphinxes, with no idea of what we are in reality. The only way to be in agreement with life is to disagree with ourselves. Absurdity is divine. Let's develop theories, patiently and honestly thinking them out, in order to promptly act against them- acting and justifying our actions with new theories that condemn them. Let's cut a path in life and then go immediately against that path. Let's adopt all the poses and gestures of something we aren't and don't wish to be, and don't even wish to be taken for being.
Let's buy books so as not to read them; let's go to concerts without caring to hear the music or to see who's there; let's take long walks because we're sick of walking; and let's spend whole days in the country, just because it bores us.'
Bernardo Soares, The Book of Disquiet , p.27
1.0: A Short Introduction
Few, if any, passages are able to capture the essence of what scholars today call postmodernism better than this excerpt from Bernardo Soares' Book of Disquiet.
Soares' personal circumstances intensify, if not completely enable, the author's - note that I am using a noun and not a pronoun -ability to define the 'fictionality' of the human experience.
'The amorphous and politically volatile nature of postmodernism makes the phenomenon itself remarkably elusive and the definition of its boundaries exceedingly difficult, if not per se impossible.'(Huyssen 1998:58)
In this essay I will try to review, in short, some of the main features of postmodernism- initially as a general term, and more specifically in regards to writing, and indeed reading.
Furthermore, I will examine the capacity of a text to comply with these theoretical definitions, and how this capacity works to question the postmodernity, or more accurately the non-modernity, of postmodern theory itself. To do so, I will contrast The Book of Disquiet , a literary piece hailed as 'one of the defining texts of the modern world' (Lezard 2001), and the work of Jean Baudrillard, widely acknowledged as one of the pinnacles of postmodern theory.