Christian Moraru's new book on postmodernism zeroes in on
postmodern representation, which the critic seizes as a literary
and cultural memory receptacle - as 'memorious discourse'. He
argues that, counter to the orthodoxies that have taken hold in
postmodern studies, postmodernism is not ahistorical, without
cultural memory, or politically apathetic. With a wink at Borges's
short story 'Funes the Memorious', he contends that this kind of
representation cannot but operate digressively, and conspicuously
so, through other representations, and is a picture that must latch
onto other pictures to bring its object to life. While other types
of discourse cover up, gloss over, or play down what they have
borrowed - and therefore owe - the postmodern eagerly acknowledges
its textual and cultural debt. Moreover, it turns this indebtedness
into an unexpected source of creativity and originality . In his
wide-ranging discussion of contemporary writers and theorists,
Moraru notes that postmodernism characteristically re-presents.
That is, it actively 'remembers' and, to use a musical term,
'reprises' former representations. These need not be infinite in
number, as in Borges, but must be and usually are retrieved with
sufficient obviousness. Memorious Discourse is organized into a
largely theoretical prologue, five chapters, and an epilogue. The
chapters mark off as many areas in recent Continental and American
theory and narrative where the discourse apparatus, workings, and
individualizing problems of postmodern representation come to light
and lend themselves to rethinking through the Borgesian-inspired
critical metaphor. To gauge the scope of memorious discourse,
Moraru examines theoretical and narrative models developed by such
writers and critics as Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Don
DeLillo, Joseph McElroy, Paul Auster, Kathy Acker, Toni Morrison,
Philip Roth, William Gibson, Mark Leyner, David Antin, Emmanuel
Levinas, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault,
Jean-Luc Nancy, Philippe
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