Polemical plot-coils: thematising the postmodern in 'Possession'

Katrina Sanders


The postmodernity of A. S. Byatt’s Booker Prize-winning novel Possession (1990) has been much discussed. However, the novel’s formal treatment of postmodernism, through its use of intertextuality, pastiche and textual self-consciousness, diverges significantly from its treatment of postmodernism as a theme. In this essay, I will discuss the relatively neglected issue of Byatt’s thematic portrayal of the postmodern, and will show how Byatt sustains a fundamentally humanist impulse from within the novel’s framework of postmodern awareness.

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