A Postmodern Analysis of Contemporary Poetics: Understanding John Ashbery and Charles Bernstein

By Gargi Bhattacharya.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The phenomenological critics, such as Hillis Miller and Hartman, asserted in the early 1970s that the author’s consciousness is central to the apprehension of meaning of a text. It is the readers’ responsibility to realize experience, extend, and complete the visionary consciousness of the writer. The deconstructionists have put an exclusive emphasis on the responses of the readers. Deconstruction has two basic tenets. Firstly, it takes the text as a product and the reader its consumer. The meaning of the text depends on how the reader masters the codes and conventions of linguistic and literary systems. Secondly, critics like Stanley Fish, Norman Holland, and David Bleich extend the concept of “writerly text,” which was initiated by Roland Barthes. Here the text is taken as an ongoing process or performance, subject to multiple writings, where the reader participates in producing synchronous meanings. Postmodernism has certain fault-lines in praxis, and I have tried to locate the position of Ashbery as a postmodern poet who is evolved out of the Romantic sensibility. Contrary to the syllogistic rationalism, poetics deal with the contradictory situations of being in a world that is mutative and inconsistent. Bernstein focuses more on responsiveness and mobility than confidence and certainty.

Keywords: (De)Construction, Aesthetics, Poetics, Response, Contextualism, Innovation Versus Refinement, Certainty and Independence, Alphabetic World and the Digital Media

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.167-178. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 920.147KB).

Researcher Gargi Bhattacharya

Indian Government Researcher, English Department, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

I took the National Education Test, held by University Grants Commission, India, in December 2007 and qualified for both lectureship and research fellowships. I published an article entitled “Decentralizing Writing: Ashbery and the Language Movement” in the Government Literary Journal, Communique. I participated in the Research Project on American Literature: Muse India Literary E-journal ISSN: 0975-1815:32: July-Aug. 2010 entitled. “Contemporary Indian Writing.” I published in “Rupkatha” online academic journal, ISSN: 0975-2935, Vol.3, No.2., http://rupkatha.com/V3/n2/08_Poetics_of_John_Ashbery.pdf.


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