Literary criticism
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Literary Criticism. Class #13. Baudrillard. Stage #1 : The sign represents a basic reality.

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Literary Criticism

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Literary Criticism

Class #13

  • Baudrillard

  • Stage #1: The sign represents a basic reality.

  • Stage #2: The sign misrepresents or distorts the reality behind it.

  • Stage #3: The sign disguises the fact that there is no corresponding reality underneath.

  • Stage #4: The sign bears no relation to any reality at all.

Mark Rothko No.16 1960 Orange Purple

ROTHKO,MarkRed, Orange, Tan and Purple, 1954

  • Hassan, Ihab. Toward a Concept of Postmodernism. Postmodernism: A Reader. Ed. Thomas Docherty. NY: Columbia UP, 1993.

Paradigms and Syntagms


  • Verse or prose in which "the temporal, logical, and syntactic relations between members and sentences are expressed by words (such as "when", "then", "because", "therefore") or phrases (such as "in order to", "as a result") or by the use of subordinate phrases and clauses is said to be hypotactic.


  • Verse or prose which is based on the use of parallel statements which are placed one after another without any expression of their connection or relation (except, at most the noncommittal connective, "and") is said to be paratactic.


  • Lacan describes schizophrenia as a breakdown in the signifying chain, that is, the interlocking syntagmatic series of signifiers which constitutes an utterance or a meaning. . . .

F. Jameson,


  • The connection between this kind of linguistic malfunction and the psyche of the schizophrenic may then be grasped by way of a twofold proposition: first, that personal identity is itself the effect of a certain temporal unification of past and future with one's present: and, second, that such active temporal unification is itself a function of language, or better still of the sentence, as it moves along its hermeneutic circle through time.

F. Jameson,


  • If we are unable to unify the past, present, and future of the sentence, then we are similarly unable to unify the past, present, and future of our own biographical experience or psychic life. With the breakdown of the signifying chain, therefore, the schizophrenic is reduced to an experience of pure material signifiers, or, in other words, a series of pure and unrelated presents in time.

F. Jameson,



A usually-underground, horizontal stem of a plant that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari used the term "rhizome" to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation.

  • A Critique:

  • Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism. London: Routledge, 1988.

  • Ihab Hassan, is fond of creating parallel columns that place characteristics of the one next to their opposite characteristics in the other, usually making clear his preference for the postmodern (Hutcheon 49).

  • But this either/or thinking suggests a resolution of what I would see it as the unresolvable contradictions within postmodernism. For example I would see it less as a case of postmodern play versus modernist purposes, as Hassan claims, than as a case of play with purpose (Hatcheon 49).

  • The same is true of all his oppositions: postmodernism is the process of making the product; it is absence within presence, it is dispersal that needs centering in order to be dispersal; it is the ideolect that wants to be, but knows it cannot be, the master code; it is immanence denying yet yearning for transcendence (Hutcheon 49).

  • In other words, the postmodern partakes of a logic of both/and, not one of either/or (Hutcheon 49).

  • The End

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