Postmodernism

“Postmodernism” denotes an historical period, a style, or a cultural logic. If an historical period, then the word means after modernism—although when, precisely, modernism ended is debatable: 1939, 1945, and 1950 are common dates, but the term “postmodernism” crops up well before then. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) finds J. M. Thompson in 1914 using “Post-Modernism” to describe a shift in Christian thinking that would “escape from the double-mindedness of Modernism.” A still earlier example eluded the OED: circa 1870, the English painter John Watkins Chapman spoke of “postmodern painting,” which he alleged was more avant-garde than French impressionism (Storey 2005). To denote a new period in literature or architecture, however, the term gained wide use in the 1960s, with the earliest such uses occurring in the 1940s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, children’s literature witnessed the rise of a postmodernism characterized by three different but …

This essay may be found on page 181 of the printed volume.

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