Martin Paul Eve, ‘Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace and the Problems of “Metamodernism”: Post-Millennial Post-Postmodernism?’, C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-century Writings, 1 (2012), pp. 7-25.
David Foster Wallace’s long standing ambition was to move beyond postmodern irony, which he claimed introduced ‘sarcasm, cynicism, a manic ennui, suspicion of all authority, suspicion of all constraints on conduct’ into literature and culture. This article disturbs and troubles the concept of a millennial turning point for notions of a revived, ethically viable fiction. Arguing that if twenty-first-century fiction is easiest to categorize as metamodern, it is because of a shift of critical perspective overly rooted in positivist historical thinking, seeking a parallel progression in its object of study. Rather, this shift should now recognize that metamodern ontology and epistemology are also applicable to many postmodern fictions to their fictions.