Postmodern literature is literature characterized by reliance on narrative techniques such as fragmentation, paradox, and the unreliable narrator; and often is (though not exclusively) defined as a style or a trend which emerged in the post–World War II era. Postmodern works are seen as a response against dogmatic following of Enlightenment thinking and Modernist approaches to literature.Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, tends to resist definition or classification as a “movement”.
Indeed, the convergence of postmodern literature with various modes of critical theory, particularly reader-response and deconstructionist approaches, and the subversions of the implicit contract between author, text and reader by which its works are often characterised, have led to pre-modern fictions such as Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1605, 1615) and Laurence Sterne’s eighteenth-century satire TristramShandy being retrospectively considered by some as early examples of postmodern literature.While there is little consensus on the precise characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature, as is often the case with artistic movements, postmodern literature is commonly defined in relation to a precursor. In particular, postmodern writers are seen as reacting against the precepts of modernism, and they often operate as literary “bricoleurs”, parodying forms and styles associated with modernist (and other) writers and artists. Postmodern works also tend to celebrate chance over craft, and further employ metafiction to undermine the text’s authority or authenticity. Another characteristic of postmodern literature is the questioning of distinctions between high and low culture through the use of pastiche, the combination of subjects and genres not previously deemed fit for literature(“Postmodern literature”).