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Communities in Fiction$
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J. Hillis Miller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263103

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263103.001.0001

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Postmodern Communities in Pynchon and Cervantes

Postmodern Communities in Pynchon and Cervantes

(p.264) 6 Postmodern Communities in Pynchon and Cervantes
Communities in Fiction

J. Hillis Miller

Fordham University Press

A careful analysis of an early story by Thomas Pynchon, “The Secret Integration,” shows that it exemplifies all the major features of post-modern narrative, as identified by Fredric Jameson and others. Post-modern narrative differs from the post-modern condition in having as its goal a revelation through fiction of what our condition these days is. The problem with this periodization, however, is that a short novel such as Cervantes’s “The Dogs’ Colloquy,” one of his “Exemplary Tales” (1613), already contains, no doubt in a different way from Pynchon, every one of the features that are said uniquely to characterize post-modern fiction. A full analysis of “The Dogs’ Colloquy” suggests that period characterizations are always suspect. Cervantes’s greatness partly lies in the way he employed four hundred years ago all the narrative devices and themes that in different mixes would characterize fiction in the West down to the present day.

Keywords:   Thomas Pynchon, Miguel de Cervantes, The Dog’s Colloquy, Post-modern narrative, Western fiction, Exemplary Tales

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