Ethics in Postmodern Fiction

Donald Barthelme and William Gass


1. Edition, 2005
242 Pages

ISBN: 978-3-8253-1574-0
Product: Book
Edition: Hardcover
Subject: Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Series: American Studies – A Monograph Series, Volume No.: 117
Available: 22.11.2005

Keywords: Ethik, Postmoderne, Prosa, Donald, Barthelme, Barthelme, Donald, Gass, William, postmoderne Literatur, amerikanische Erzähler


Postmodern texts have generally been associated with a radical challenge of established conventions and with an "anything goes" mentality, which seems to exclude serious ethical discussion. While the postmodern texts of the American novel and short-story writers Donald Barthelme and William Gass indeed challenge traditional ethical rules, they are nonetheless deeply concerned with moral questions. Using contemporary ethics as its theoretical framework, the study shows that the fiction of Barthelme and Gass not only makes readers aware of the complexity of ethical issues but also argues that the premise for good ethical behavior is to have the right - postmodern - attitude: to be open-minded, flexible, and able to deal with the ambiguities of life. Retrospectively, these findings can also be applied to other postmodern writers to reveal the hidden ethical dimensions of their fictions.

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Nicole Schröder in: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Vol. 56.4 (2008), 411ff

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Thomas Austenfeld in: American Literary Scholarship, 2005-1, 487

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Rüdiger Heinze in: Amerikastudien / American Studies, 54, 1 (2009), 155ff

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in: American Literature, June 2007; 79: 437 - 444