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Postmodern literature is a type of literature that came to prominence after World War II. Learn about howpostmodernism in literature rejects many literary conventions and embraces new ones in this lesson. Then, test yourknowledge with a quiz.Postmodern Literature DefinedPostmodern literatureis a form of literature which is marked, both stylistically and ideologically, by a reliance onsuch literary conventions as fragmentation, paradox, unreliable narrators, often unrealistic and downright impossibleplots, games, parody, paranoia, dark humor and authorial self-reference. Postmodern authorstend to reject outrightmeanings in their novels, stories and poems, and, instead, highlight and celebrate the possibility of multiple meanings,or a complete lack of meaning, within a single literary work.Postmodern literature also often rejects the boundaries between 'high' and 'low' forms of art and literature, as well asthe distinctions between different genres and forms of writing and storytelling. Here are some examples of stylistictechniques that are often used in postmodern literature:Pastiche: The taking of various ideas from previous writings and literary styles and pasting them together tomake new styles.Intertextuality: The acknowledgment of previous literary works within another literary work.Metafiction: The act of writing about writing or making readers aware of the fictional nature of the veryfiction they're reading.Temporal Distortion: The use of non-linear timelines and narrative techniques in a story.Minimalism: The use of characters and events which are decidedly common and non-exceptional characters.Maximalism: Disorganized, lengthy, highly detailed writing.Magical Realism: The introduction of impossible or unrealistic events into a narrative that is otherwiserealistic.Faction: The mixing of actual historical events with fictional events without clearly defining what is factualand what is fictional.Reader Involvement: Often through direct address to the reader and the open acknowledgment of thefictional nature of the events being described.Irony,playfulness,blackhumorPostmodern authors were certainly not the first to use irony and humor in their writing, but for manypostmodern authors, these became the hallmarks of their style. Postmodern authors will often treat veryserious subjects—World War II, the Cold War, conspiracy theories—from a position of distance anddisconnect, and will choose to depict their histories ironically and humorously.Many critics and scholars find it best to define postmodern literature against the popular literary style that came beforeit: modernism. In many ways, postmodern literary styles and ideas serve to dispute, reverse, mock and reject theprinciples of modernist literature.