The Emergence of the Real in Modernist and Postmodernist Art
D'Errico, Julia. “The Emergence of the Real in Modernist and Postmodernist Art”, Boston College, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108967.
What qualifies a work as distinctly modernist or postmodernist? Moving beyond the idea that modernism and postmodernism are primarily distinguishable on a temporal basis, D’Errico instead argues that the key difference between these two movements lies on a theoretical level. Grounded in a framework of contemporary theory put forth by Žižek, Lacan, Deleuze, and Badiou, D’Errico proposes that the Real-Symbolic relation manifests differently in modernist and postmodernist works; the structural paradigms of the torus and rhizome are helpful to illuminate this fundamental theoretical difference. Expanding on Žižek’s definitions of modernism and postmodernism (from Looking Awry ), D’Errico posits that a torus-shaped Real-Symbolic relation accords with modernism and that a rhizomatic Real-Symbolic relation accords with postmodernism. This interdisciplinary analysis of twentieth-century art mainly focuses on literature, but also invokes poetry, visual art, theatre, and film. Overall, D’Errico dissects the theoretical structures of The Sun Also Rises, Waiting for Godot, The Trial, White Noise, and Caché to qualify the alignment of each with either the modernist or postmodernist canon.