What is Post-Modernism?

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Academy Editions, 1986 - Art - 48 pages
2 Reviews
ŠWhat is Post-Modernism?' Is it a new world view,or an outgrowth of the Post-Industrial Society? Is it a shift in philosophy, the arts and architecture? In this fourth, entirely revised edition, Charles Jencks, one of the founders of the Post-Modern Movement, shows it is all these things plus many other forces that have exploded since the early 1960s. In a unique analysis, using diagrams designed especially for this edition, he reveals the evolutionary, social and economic forces of this new stage of global civilisation. But why has post-modern culture arrived? In an ironic parable, Šthe Protestant Crusade'. Jencks uncovers some hitherto hidden origins: the Modernists' abhorrence for all things sensuous and natural, and their zeal for all things orderly and mechanistic. This pseudo-religion led in the 1920s to the famous Švacuum-cleaning' period, the purgation of values, metaphysics and emotion. In the 1970s it led on to the ŠProtestant Inquisition' which inadvertently created the very enemy Modernists feared - Post-Modernism; a Counter-Reformation, the reassertion of worldliness, fecundity, humour and pluralism. However, more than one tradition emerged and Jencks, distinguishing two types of Post-Modernism (deconstructive and reconstructive) demonstrates that the former is often a disguised form of Late-Modernism. This takes the de-creation and nihilism of its parent to extremes. The main engine that drives global culture today - post-modernisation, the electronic economy and instant communications network - is analysed in its close relation to other Šposts': Post-Fordism, Post-Socialism and the post-national world of trading blocs and unstable nations. Jencks argues that this may result in catastrophe and global governance, or a web of transnational institutions and obligations. The most radical idea of this challenging book is the conclusion: the notion that the post-modern world does not mean the end of metanarratives, but something quite different. Belief systems are flourishing as never before and, Jencks argues, Ša new metanarrative, based on the story of the universe and its generative qualities, will soon create a new world view that will affect all areas. It is a story which grows directly out of the post-modern sciences of complexity and is thus both true and mythic.' Other What is...? titles include What is Abstraction?, What is Deconstruction?

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Review: What Is Post Modernism (What IsÓ?)

User Review  - Craig Smillie - Goodreads

First half said little new but Parts 3 (PM Society) and Part 4 (The Universe as Measure) made it worth persevering with. Good. Read full review

Review: What Is Post Modernism (What IsÓ?)

User Review  - Gabriel - Goodreads

Read as a companion to Barth's "Friday" pieces and Eco's "Postscript to The Name of the Rose," both of which, not coincidentally, mention each other, and Barth, Jencks. Taken together, the three posit ... Read full review

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About the author (1986)

Architectural critic and historian Charles Jencks is the author of, among many other titles, Le Corbusier and the Tragic View of Architecture (Doubleday 50M copies sold to date)., The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, and The Architecture of the Jumping Universe.

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