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|Authors:||Maniushree S. Kumar|
Department of English, NTNU
|Abstract:||Realization (1996) is part of Madison Morrison’s vast and ongoing cosmological epic sequence. In it the author juxtaposes the moment-to-moment empirical perceptions of a narrative consciousness in the late 20th-century U.S.A. with short passages from the classic sacred texts of India—the Upanishads, Dhammapada and Bhagavad Gita. Here, by focusing on the temporal effects of this juxtaposition, I explore the ways in which Realization combines (interweaves, interplays) modernist and postmodernist techniques. The Indic intertexts, a kind of metaphysical and ethical discourse “spoken” from outside the immediate temporal context or present of the narrative proper, that is, from a position in the remote past which can equally be seen as the remote future, in various ways “put into play” the empirical narrative discourse—reinforcing but simultaneously undermining and putting it in question, laying bare its essential fleetingness, emptiness. Thus while the empirical narrative suggests, imitates, parodies certain high modernist forms, the decentering or destabilizing effect of the Indic intertexts suggests a postmodernist (self-) “distancing” at work on another level. The ironic force of these intertexts is, after all, fundamentally temporal: it distances the grounding (“self-present”) narrative from itself, and thereby forces us—to cite a Jamesonian description of postmodernism—to “see the present historically in an age which has forgotten how to think historically in the first place.”|
|Appears in Collections:||Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics|
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