Postmodernism: A Beginner's Guide by Kevin Hart

By Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart introduces the reader to all the significant figures and matters within the box, together with Derrida, Baudrillard and Foucault, in addition to explaining what makes a philosopher or author postmodern.

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Extra resources for Postmodernism: A Beginner's Guide

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They have never read the novels of Alain Robbe-Grillet or discussed Charles Moore’s ‘Piazza d’Italia’ (1978) in New Orleans; they would never dream of buying a book by Jean-François Lyotard or Jean Baudrillard; they do not care for the music of John Cage or for the paintings of Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning or any other members of the New York School; and wandering down the strip at Las Vegas has no appeal to them at all. Postmodernists differ from these people because, among other things, they hold other attitudes to culture, act out other styles, and have other interests.

023 20/01/2004 1:32 PM Page 37 the loss of origin 37 never hope to lay our hands on a raw fact, a ‘given’ untouched by value. And second, some interpretations are stronger than others: they account for more meaning and give more meaning to life. On this understanding, Nietzsche rejects the distinction between interpreting texts (in the sense of getting them right or wrong) and using them (to do philosophy oneself, to compose poems, to engage in politics, to get over a failed relationship). It is this aspect of Nietzsche’s thought that attracts a contemporary pragmatist like Richard Rorty (1931–).

Although Derrida is indebted to Nietzsche, he owes less to him than many people suppose. 023 20/01/2004 1:32 PM Page 38 38 postmodernism: a beginner ’s guide Johns Hopkins University in 1966. That paper concluded with a contrast between two styles of interpretation. One style is associated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78): it is characterized by a longing to decipher the hidden truth about the world, to find the true origin from whence we came, and to restrict play. The other, leagued with Nietzsche, affirms play, does not seek an origin, and fails to balk at the limits imposed by humanism or metaphysics.

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