The Literary Style of Minimalism in Contemporary Short Fiction
its novelty lies in its somewhat unusual combination of such antecedents, and . . . what may strike the unprepared spectator as iconoclastic and incomprehensible innovation is in fact merely an expansion, revaluation, and development of procedures that are familiar and completely acceptable in only slightly different contexts" (Esslin 228). Something of the same dynamic is at work with regard to the emergence of narrative minimalism, for while various critics agree that minimalism is an identifiable, distinctive mode of literary expression, they decidedly do not agree on the constituents or the value of such expression.

Any assessment of minimalism as a response to postmodernism must take account of the postmodernist narrative style as well. Beckson and Ganz note two conflicting views of the term postmodernism as overlapping with the modernist label that was attached to the literature of the first part of the twentieth century. The first holds that modernism is a "distinctive cultural phenomenon" that is "defined by its rejection of the literary diction and techniques of the previous [Victorian] period and by its opposition to the social and economic values of bourgeois society." On this view, the work of Joyce, Faulkner, and Eliot can be viewed as modernist. The opposing view holds that the roots of modernism, including existentialist literature that describes an intensely subjective or "postFreudian ethos [and] conflict between th

 
 
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