I’m planning to do my remediation project about the book “if on a winter’s night a traveller,” by Italo Calvino. I want to write a review, and explain to everyone why this kind of novel, and this kind of writing in general, is important, meaningful, interesting, and worth your time. I’ve read several pieces of writing in this same style before, but the problem was that I didn’t know how to categorize it. I love this kind of writing, but what kind of writing is it?
After a little investigation, I discovered that this novel is postmodern. Postmodernism is the school of thought that developed after (you guessed it) modernism. It stresses the importance of the act of writing, and it refutes the idea that there is a relationship between words and the objects that they describe, among other seemingly obscure ideas. So what does that mean? I don’t know. I’m researching to try and find that out.
So far, the best sources have been in literary/scholarly journals. They’re difficult and dense, but that is hard to avoid when talking about such an abstract and confusing idea.
My goal right now is to get a good handle on what exactly postmodernism is, before I start researching Calvino and his specific book.
I found one article in particular, “Postmodern Theory” by Johnstone, in the journal Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, to be most appropriate for my project, because it took postmodernism and explained how it applied to literature, thematic concern by thematic concern.
It touched on recurring images, ideas, and structures in postmodern work, and as I read, I could see how exactly these concerns had been employed by Calvino in his novel. My next step will be to go back through the book and find these examples of postmodernism.
Additionally, I want to further research some of the abstract ideas mentioned in Johnstone’s article, such as “metafiction,” “authorial intrusion,” and the idea that writing does not represent consciousness.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to see how Calvino was influenced by postmodernism, and I’ll be able to define it more completely.