Sequel to History
Postmodernism and the Crisis of Representational Time
Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth
Sequel to History offers a comprehensive definition of postmodernism as a reformation of time. Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth uses a diversified theoretical approachdrawing on post-structuralism, feminism, new historicism, and twentieth-century scienceto demonstrate the crisis of our dominant idea of history and its dissolution in the rhythmic time of postmodernism. She enlarges this definition in discussions of several crises of cultural identity: the crisis of the object, the crisis of the subject, and the crisis of the sign. Finally, she explores the relation between language and time in post-modernism, proposing an arresting theory of her own about the rhythmic nature of postmodern temporality. Because the postmodern construction of time appears so clearly in narrative writing, each part of this work is punctuated by a "rhythm section" on a postmodern narrative (Robbe-Grillet's Jealousy, Cortezar's Hopscotch, and Nabokov's Ada); these extended readings provide concrete illustrations of Ermarth's theoretical positions. As in her critically acclaimed Realism and Consensus in the English Novel, Ermarth ranges across disciplines from anthropology and the visual arts to philosophy and history. For its interdisciplinary character and its lucid definition of postmodernism, Sequel to History will appeal to all those interested in the humanities.