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The Routledge Companion to Postmodernism (book review) Stuart Sim (Editor)

(Routledge Companions)

070215: this is a curious five. this is written for the usual 'analytic' philosopher and many of the cultural allusions are resolutely english, not american, less french or german. i have been twice surprised while reading this anthology, this encyclopedia, this dictionary, which tries to encapsulate postmodernism in the various realms of human life, history, politics, arts, and sciences. first, i am surprised at how familiar i always already am with the thought acts, terms, names, referred to. next, i am surprised that i am surprised, for when i look at the various texts i have read i start a bookshelf especially for pomo philosophy i have no trouble naming about thirty six books. and this out of 469 works that somehow in structure, in shape, in themes, in deploying genre types and topography, has a relationship to this slippery term 'postmodern'...

so the extent to which i follow this style of thought is, appropriately, postmodern. that is, terms i feel comfortable with, that surprise me at first with their familiarity, are all 'signs' that 'defer' and 'differ' in a rather 'rhizomatic' dispersion of previously linked terms. this is all a sort of 'neural net' kind of 'artificial intelligence', that does the required thinking before i even have to read given text, that is 'coherent' or 'incoherent', 'territory', 'phrase regime', 'plural', that is 'simulacra' of 'simulation' that really does not 'refer' to anything 'outside the text', that is its own best argument that 'consciousness is structured like language'. or not, as we move from confidence of 'structuralism', to 'poststructuralism', to 'excess', to 'jouissance', and so we have the entire 'negative dialectic' which questions questioning in 'logocentrism', with 'slippage', 'deference', even possibilities of 'representation'...

the first section of this book, 'postmodernism, its history and context', is a series of introductory essays on 'postmodernism and...' in each essay case: philosophy, critical and cultural theory, politics, feminism, lifestyles, science and technology, architecture, art, the cinema, television, literature, music, popular culture, modernity and the tradition of dissent... this is fun. each essay, each voice is from someone familiar with each discipline but not hermetically so. i have read enough, thought enough, of many aspects of 'postmodernism and...' but willingly cede the floor to these other voices... in some cases, such as architecture, this is where i first heard the term 'postmodern' and its dispute with this monolithic 'modernism', and i have seen work by everyone from le corbusier to rem koohlaus. in other cases, such as music, i know less than nothing but for some reason have been engaged by composers like philip glass, producers like brian eno...

the next section of the book, 'names and terms', is even more fun in an intellectual way. this book is already a historical document, only 13 years but of course longer in 'dog years', always already names everyone from filmmaker david lynch, cultural theorist marshall mccluhan, to the artist previously known as prince... then more 'tools of thought', such as 'archaeology', 'genealogy', 'irony', 'metaphysics of presence','deconstruction'... and so on. not long ago, i had encountered these names and terms through disparate critical works, on everything from [book:The Shock of the New|542639] to architecture- [book:Modern Architecture Since 1900|2000903] leading to… anyway, you get the idea. this works in prompting my mind to operate as a hypertext...

so is this a five? well maybe just for me, as the extent to which it is 'fun' may not garner many followers. i have, as noted, been spurred to create a virtual bookshelf for 'postmodern philosophy'. again, for fun, as it is not complete-

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