Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, Depth brings together many of the most influential voices in the scholarly and critical debate about post-postmodernism and twenty-first century aesthetics, arts and culture. By relating cutting-edge analyses of contemporary literature, the visual arts and film and television to recent social, technological and economic developments, the volume provides both a map and an itinerary of today’s metamodern cultural landscape. As its organising principle, the book takes Fredric Jameson’s canonical arguments about the waning of historicity, affect and depth in the postmodern culture of western capitalist societies in the twentieth century, and re-evaluates and reconceptualises these notions in a twenty-first century context. In doing so, it shows that the contemporary moment should be regarded as a transitional period from the postmodern and into the metamodern cultural moment.
Acknowledgements / 1. Periodising the 2000s, or, the emergence of metamodernism, Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen / Section I: Historicity / 2. Metamodern Historicity, Robin van den Akker / 3. The metamodern, the quirky, and the challenge of categorization, James MacDowell / 4. Toni Morrison’s Beloved and the Rise of Historioplastic Metafiction, Josh Toth / 5. Super-hybridity: Non-simultaneity, political power, and multipolar conflict, Jorg Heiser / 6. The Cosmic Artisan: Mannerist Virtuosity and Contemporary Crafts, Sjoerd van Tuinen / Section II: Affect / 7. Metamodern Affect, Alison Gibbons / 8. Four Faces of Post-Irony, Lee Konstantinou / 9. Radical Defenselessness: A new sense of self in the work of David Foster Wallace, Nicoline Timmer / 10. Contemporary Autofiction and Affect, Alison Gibbons / 11. The Joke that Wasn’t funny anymore: Empathy in Contemporary Sitcoms, Gry Rustad and Kai Schwind / Section III: Depth / 12. Metamodern Depth or ‘Depthiness’, Timotheus Vermeulen / 13. Reconstructing Depth: Authentic Fiction and Responsibility, Irmtraud Huber and Wolfgang Funk / 14. Between truth, sincerity and satire: Post-truth politics and the rhetoric of authenticity, Sam Browse / 15. Notes on Performatist Photography: Experiencing beauty and transcendence after postmodernism, Raoul Eshelman / Epilogue / 16. Thoughts on writing about art after postmodernism, James Elkins / References / Index / Contributor Information
If you’re in the market for a slick, shiny new aesthetic of the post-post or the meta-, you won’t find it here – but you won’t find it anywhere else, either, because it doesn’t exist. If, however, you genuinely want to understand the “sticky mess” (in Jörg Heiser’s phrase) that the new cultural practices are in the very process of emerging from, then you owe it to yourself to give this volume your fullest attention.
Metamodernism is the best collection of essays on our time’s most notable cultural development: the turning of postmodernism into something else. The project’s heart is van den Akker and Vermeulen’s 2008 milestone essay “Notes on Metamodernism,” which beats across a volume bringing together Alison Gibbons, Lee Konstantinou, Josh Toth, James MacDowell, Raoul Eshelman, and other distinguished critics of the contemporary.
In 2002, Linda Hutcheon famously announced the end of postmodernism. What has been happening in the areas of arts, culture, aesthetics, and politics ever since? Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, and Depth after Postmodernism provides an answer to this question. The book is truly impressive in terms of both its theoretical scope and the discussion of representative examples of metamodernism.
I hope this book becomes required reading for scholars and think tanks, or any students studying postmodernism and beyond, so we could at least adopt a common ‘language’ (as they describe it) to reduce the excessive redundancy and conict in academia and contemporary social thought. This is what the ‘principle of abstraction’ from computer science does, and is much needed in our cultural programming.
Robin van den Akker is Lecturer in Continental Philosophy and Cultural Studies at Erasmus University College Rotterdam.
Alison Gibbons is Reader in Contemporary Stylistics at Sheffield Hallam University.
Timotheus Vermeulen is Associate Professor in Media, Culture and Society at the University of Oslo.