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Introducing Postmodernism D [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Richard Appignanesi , Chris Garratt
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 2005
Postmodernism seemed to promise an end to the grim Cold War era of nuclear confrontation and oppressive ideologies. The notoriously proclaimed 'end of history', the triumph of liberal democracy over Communist tyranny, proved to be an illusion, and we awoke in the anxious grip of globalization, unpredictable terrorism and unforeseen war. Has the 21st century resolved the question of postmodernism or are we more than ever ensnared in its perplexities? Recorded in association with Icon Books.

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About the Author

Richard Appignanesi is a novelist, editor and publisher, and a Research Fellow at King's College London. He is the originating editor of the Introducing series.

Chris Garratt is an illustrator. He is the cartoonist behind the legendary 'Biff' comic strip in the Guardian. Ziauddin Sardar is a hugely renowned writer, broadcaster, journalist and critic. 'Britain's own Muslim polymath' (Independent) has become one of the UK's leading intellectuals and writes on a huge variety of subjects in numerous newspapers and magazines throughout the world. He is also Visiting Professor of Postcolonial Studies at the City University, London.

Patrick Curry is a freelance writer and historian living in London. His interests include the history of astrology, literary criticism, politics and ecology. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Uniquely British, this guide takes listeners on a quirky ride from the origins of postmodernism to its present state of influence. Two young British socialites are alternately excited and scandalized by the production's sound-effects-and-music-laden tour of postmodern art, which includes discussion of the artists' motivations and eccentricities, as well as their ground-breaking work. Narrator and cast careen through the philosophy and practice of postmodernism, negotiating humorous twists and audio jokes with flair and clarity. While the young Brits sometimes claim that they'd prefer a nice cup of cocoa to looking at Marcel Duchamp's startling creations, this audiobook manages to entertain and instruct in a distinctly theatric postmodern style. D.J.B. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars 5 Into 2 Won't Go July 19 2003
By A Customer
Many readers are put off by the very idea of serious works being reduced to a comic book format. I'm not. My experience with the Classic Comic Books of old was a good one and helped stimulate me into a more conventional direction later on. It should be admitted, however, that some serious topics are more suited to that format than others. In this case, the authors' section on postmodern art is well suited as it traces the evolution of visual styles over the preceding decades. There is much to learn here. But this asset, I'm afraid, is simply outweighed by the other two sections. These deal with topics that likely defy the most skillful of conversion attempts. Put briefly, rendering the postmodern theory of these two sections into skimpy simplifying text along with none-to-helpful graphics is almost like rendering quantum theory into a serious discussion between Ren & Stimpy. The material is simply too refractory. The authors' effort represents an honorable failure; and a task made no easier by the fact that the rhetoric of many of PoMo's leading exponents has itself been exposed as empty and inflated. (Sokal & Bricmont's, *Fashionable Nonsense*) Still, whatever its ultimate worth, I think PoMo is worth pursuing since it does capture the Zeitgeist of two key contemporary trends: consumerism and globalization. More text, however, is required by any effective introduction. So, at your own risk.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A slide show for simpletons. Aug. 18 1999
How effective are cartoons at explaining complex theories in sociology and culturology? Answer: they're not.
With the possible exception of an orchestral symphony translated into smoke signals, it's impossible to imagine a more egregious mismatch between content and medium of expression than this. After about five pages, you realise that the splash of illustrations not only are not an aide to comprehension, they are embarrassingly redundant.
Postmodernism is an enormous field of thought, so much so that almost any author who has written an essay on it that claims to be an introduction begins with the apologetic preface that the subject virtually defies synopsis. Not these guys! Apparently the whole issue can be explained to even a novice with a series of pictures: words are almost an afterthought. How's that for scholarship?
This series of books is quite simply the worst class of 'infotainment' you could encounter. The assumption that nobody will tackle these topics unless that are sweetened-up as 'fun' (i.e, comic strips) is an insult to anyone trying to grasp a complex topic. The whole format is built upon the tacit assumptions that learning can only be achieved through the medium of entertainment; that the potential buyer has a miniscule attention span; and that the most widely-scoped, recondite topics can all be boiled down to a comic strip. Please don't think this is academic elitism: if you think you'll come away from this book with a rounded view of the topic, do buy it. But I think you'll find that like so many other publications in the series, this book mentions everything and explains nothing.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Trash June 10 2001
By A Customer
This piece of trash is not an explanation of anything because the authors clearly do not understand the subject themselves. It is a giddy recitation of trendy and muddy ideas, and an exercise in academic name-dropping.
This book is full of dubious claims, unwarranted conclusions, and simple falsehoods. The authors quite obviously do not understand the anthropic principle, for example (page 110), and yet somehow feel qualified to explain this philosophical/scientific principle which has absolutely nothing to do with the authors' conception of "postmodernism". They describe abstract art as an attempt to express the inexpressible, and fail to explain how the abstract rather than the realistic is better suited to this impossible task. The explanations and descriptions they offer collapse after a nanosecond of scrutiny.
I shall enjoy the symbolic defacing of this book which shall now commence.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Everything is better with an Andy Warhol cartoon Aug. 1 2001
I love the Introducing series. They are excellent study guides for topics that may be unfamiliar. They are generally not to detailed but provide a good jumping off point for further research.
Introducing Postmodernism was a bit vague, but i guess so is postmodernism itself. To completely understand the book, you first must have an idea what postmodernism is, and if you have such an idea, you don't really need a postmodern study guide.
It gives alot of examples of postmodernity in society without actually stating what postmoderninsm is, but who CAN acctually state what postmodernism is?
It discusses everyone from Stephen Hawking to Madonna, everything from "Cyberia" and genetic cloning to Disneyland and karaoke.
It might give you some ideas if you have to write a paper, than again it just might frustrate you and cause you to spin off into cyberspace.
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By A Customer
The most wonderful aspect of this book is that it works on two levels. The comic-styled illustrations make even the hardest of concepts a joy to follow. And yet, it provides enough hard-hitting facts about the development of modernism into postmodernism that even those with college degrees will enjoy it. This is a great start for those trying to understand the concepts of postmodernism and its effect on the world around us.
The artwork and text make this such a joy to read that I didn't want to put the book down until I had finished it. And like the very nature of postmodernism, it left me with enough thought-provoking ideas to want to question how I look at art or the world. It didn't try to pass itself off as the only authority on the matter, yet it did provide a great overview with research into the past that went beyond the standard notions of textbook history.
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