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Postmodernism: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) Paperback – April 1, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Postmodernist exegesis questions not only the 'grand canonical narrative' allegedly supposed by or encoded in the Bible; it also attacks the modern project of historical criticism. Hart also discusses the work of Harold Bloom and M. Blaanchot, as well as J. Derrida's view of the Bible. -- International Review of Biblical Studies

About the Author

Kevin Hart is Professor English at the University of Notre Dame, Illinois, USA. He is the author or editor of 15 books, and has published seven collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Flame Tree: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2001).
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Product Details

  • Series: Beginner's Guides
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851683380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851683383
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Don't let the subtitle, "A Beginner's Guide", fool you. This textbook is "an introduction to postmodernism for people who know little or nothing about it." (p. ix) It's not an ordinary textbook by a long shot. This one is as remarkably enlightening and thought provoking as it is difficult to read. Set aside plenty of time for it, and be sure to read it with a handy supply of colored highlighters and sticky tabs because there is so much to come back for on later readings.

The author guides the intrepid with readings that cross the plains of secular culture and find a place where theology and philosophy meet. The journey is rewarding. The first third of the book works to develop a definition of Postmodernism that feels natural. This definition and the understanding developed along the way is as broad as the distance from James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake" to the hyper-reality of today's televised combat coverage.

The second third of the book works to develop an understanding of the Postmodern experience through exposition and the use of "fragments". What begins in literature and art, transforms into popular culture and eventually to a dsicussion of the dominant forces on earth - triumphant democracy and global capitalism. Even those forces have limits though. When the author brings us to the cliff edge of those limits, he rightly points out that the abyss into which we stare may not be so empty after all. But to go forward from here requires a new way of thinking about some old issues - topics that Postmodernism is uniquely able to address.

Those topics fill the final third of the book, and it is the authors finest work.
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Format: Paperback
There is no Idiot's Guide to Postmodernism. And there's a reason for that. Postmodernism is not something that is easy to digest, to understand, "to just get the basics." So anyone writing a beginner's guide to Postmodernism has no easy task. That said, Hart's beginner's guide is top notch. My first introduction to postmodernism and postmodernity was Stan Grenz'A Primer on Postmodernism. While adequate to get me started, I wish I would have had Hart's. While the opening volley of imaginary "guides" is a bit forced, and although he clearly emphasizes the postsecular aspects of the postmodern, Hart's exposition of this nebulous phenomenon called 'postmodernism' is quite illuminating. The text is a bit dense for a beginner's guide, but then, he didn't write and idiot's guide, just a beginner's guide. Take his advice. "When you have finished reading the book, make a photocopy of the bibliography and then give the book to a friend" (ix). After all, as he says, "If these chapters have any value, it will be in leading you to read works by the people whose ideas I introduce and sometimes parry." It's not a comprehensive account for people who want the easy answers, it is a guide for those beginning an intellectual engagement with postmodernism. Let the games begin!
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Here's the thing: At the start the author casts the many faces of postmodernism in terms of a tour with different tour guides representing the different facets of this difficult topic. It's all so clear and painless--and fun! Love that. But then Hart moves on to a spiritual discussion which is not represented in the title. I feel it should be, as spirituality is really not a hallmark of postmodernism, but, according to Hart, a kind of splinter group of sorts, and a very fringe one at that. I, personally, enjoy such discussions. Still, as I was rushing to glean the character of the postmodern for a paper I'm writing, I would have liked some clear warning--so I could save myself the time and skip over his pet slant on the matter.
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Format: Paperback
Erudite to the extreme if you consider erudition to be an encyclopaedic knowledge of authors and quotes but that is not what I am looking for in a beginner's guide.
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