Writing: a postmodern definition

One day in class, I whimsically asked, “Would anyone like to talk about the difference between modernist and postmodernist approaches to writing [instruction]” — or something like that. The answer was “YES.” I was pleasantly surprised.  I think we will get to that as we transition in to “Building a mystery” but tonight I was working on another essay about the “antimodernism” of Marshall McLuhan, and I consulted this source:

Leverette, Marc. “Writing (After Derrdia [After McLuhan] After Joyce).” Communication and Critical / Cultural Studies.” 4.4 (2007): 343-62.

My notes on the essay included the conclusion of the essay, a (re)definition of writing:

It is an act of experiment, introspection, and invention. It is not simply about mimetic objectivity, linearity, rationality. It is about producing, desiring, images, flows, lines, tangles, “thithaways” and “hithaways,” effects, and affects. It is becoming. It is of course a kind of production of the I. But it is always a production of the Other. As Derrida writes, “. . . the image that is reflecting in me in the water is deformed, deforming: I am an other.” And (in this case at least) the Other is always already a proximal and specific someone.  (357-58)

Dayna’s essay is the most experimental one I have shared; perhaps I need to seek out additional experimental pieces.  The quotation does resonate with Soliday’s description of literacies as a negotiation of the self and difference, although this quotation suggest that the difference of Other might be ourselves.  THAT resonates with Gee, who says that we cannot really see and understand our Primary Discourse until we acquire a Secondary Discourse; we can then look back at ourselves (deformed?) and see an Other.  Stylistically, we haven’t done a lot of with “the postmodern essay” but conceptually, we have challenged the idea of the “unified self” as the source of genius and we have similarly, implicitly critiqued that idea by emphasizing “sponsors of literacy.”

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