THE SUBVERSION OF POSTMODERNISM IN A.S. BYATT’S POSSESSIONAND THE BIOGRAPHER’S TALE
Keywords:A.S. Byatt, postmodernism, metafiction, historicity, neo-Victorian, sexuality, parody, subversion
A.S. Byatt’s works have had an intricate relationship with postmodernism, and this relationship is probably best exhibited in Possessionand The Biographer’s Tale. Both novels display complex webs of allusions, references, play with genre and form, as well as intense self-reflection, all of which can be seen as typical postmodern features. However, it can be argued that both novels go beyond that, and instead of merely being self-reflexive, they are primarily intensely reflexive of their status as postmodern works. In other words, both novels seek to examine and parody postmodernism from the inside, thus subverting it and transcending it by going beyond its typical features. This approach to writing can be referred to as meta-postmodern since the novels essentially use postmodern techniques to discuss postmodernism, as well as to contrast it with some other periods of literary history and/or approaches to literature and scholarship in general. The aim of the following paper is to examine these characteristics of the novels and to find an apt description of Byatt’s narrative style.