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Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction

Christopher Butler

Publication Date - January 2003

ISBN: 9780192802392

152 pages
4-1/2 x 7 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $11.95

A handy guide to the aesthetic, philosophical, and political realms of postmodernism


Postmodernism has become the buzzword of contemporary society over the last decade. But how can it be defined? In this highly readable introduction the mysteries of this most elusive of concepts are unraveled, casting a critical light upon the way we live now, from the politicizing of museum culture to the cult of the politically correct. The key postmodernist ideas are explored and challenged, as they figure in the theory, philosophy, politics, ethics and artwork of the period, and it is shown how they have interacted within a postmodernist culture.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.


  • Enjoyable discussion of a subject popular amongst students and general readers interested in contemporary culture
  • Covers a wide range of theorists, artists, and writers
  • Highlights the positive and negative aspects of postmodernism
  • Examines the aesthetic, philosophical, and political realms of postmodernism

About the Author(s)

Christopher Butler is Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, and is the author of many books, including Early Modernism (OUP, 1994).


"A pre-eminently sane, lucid, and concise statement about the central issues, the key examples, and the notorious derilections of postmodernism. I feel a fresh wind blowing away the miasma coiling around the topic."--Ihab Hassan, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

"The most intellectually incisive, coherent and comprehensive meditation upon the history and significance of postmodernism that I have yet encountered."--Patricia Waugh, University of Durham

"Easily the best introduction to postmodernism currently available."--Hans Bertens, Utrecht University

Table of Contents

    1. The Postmodernist Period
    2. Theory versus Philosophy
    3. Politics versus Ethics
    4. Aesthetics versus Media Culture
    5. Postmodernism and Cultural Studies