A Study of Postmodern Narrative in Michael Cunningham's The Hours

Hajar Abbasi Narinabad


This project aims at providing a detailed analysis of the major features of the theory of postmodern narrative and at going through the novel The Hours by the American writer Michael Cunningham concentrating on some postmodern narrative techniques. To do so, the researcher goes through the theories set forth by some postmodern theoreticians like Roland Barthes, Jacque Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard and Julia Kristeva to investigate the postmodern narrative techniques and elements used in the novel. The researcher first examines the theories and then critically applies them on the novel. The article goes through the most eminent elements of postmodern narrative including intertextuality, stream of consciousness style, fragmentation and representation respectively which are delicately utilized in The Hours. The article concludes by recommending a few directions for the further research.



Intertextuality, Stream of Consciousness, Fragmentation, Postmodern Reality

Full Text:



Allen, T. (1995). Womanist and Feminist Aesthetics: A Comparative Review. Athens: Ohio UP.

Bakhtin, M. (1981).The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Bal, M. (1985). Narratology: An Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Barthes, R. (1977). Images-Music-Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill & Wang.

Bennett, G., & Mclean, I. (1996). The Art of Gordon Bennett. Sydney: Craftsman House.

Bergson, H. (1949). An Introduction to Metaphysics. Trans. T. E. Hulme. New York: The Liberal Arts Press Inc.

Brunt, A. (2004). “The Postmodern Crisis of Narrative: Byatt, Carey, and Swift”. USA: Brown University.

Crew, B. (1999). Postmodern Narrative: In Search of an Alternative. Spain: University of Seville.

Cunningham, M. .. (1999). The Hours. London: Fourth Estate.

Derrida, Jacques. (1966). “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”. Trans. Alan Bass. London: Routledge.

Genette, G. (1988). Narrative Discourse Revisited. Trans. Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca: Cornell UP.

Harrison, Sue. (1999). “Cunningham Finds God in the Details.” Retrieved on September, 21, 2002.

Holquist, M., & Walter, R.Reed. (1988). " Six These on the Novel and some Metaphors" New Literary History.

Hucheon, L. (1989). "Histographic Metafiction: Parody and Intertextuality of History."intertextuality and Contemporary American Fiction. Ed. Patrick O Donnell and Robert Con Davis. Baltimore: The John Hopkin University Press.

Hucheon, L. (1988). A Poetic of Postmodernism. London: Routledge.

Humphrey, R. (1965).Stream of Consciousness in the Modern Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press.

James, W. (1890). The Principles of Psychology.. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Jean-Francois, L. (1984). The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Bennington & Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Jerome, B. (2002). Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life. Chapter 3.Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Kristeva, J. (1984). Revolution in Poetic Language. Trans. Margaret Waller. New York: Columbia UP.

Kristeva, J. (1980). “Word, Dialogue, and Novel.” Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Ed. Leon S. Roudiez. Trans. Thomas Gora, Alice Jardine & Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP.

Kumar, Shiv K. (1963).Bergson and the Stream of Consciousness Novel. New York: New York UP.

Lit Chat. (2000). “Dances with Woolf.” http://www.poz.com/archive/columns/litchat.htm.

Onega, S., & Landa, J. (1996). Narratology: An Introduction. USA: Longman P, NewYork.

Moreland, J.P. (2005). Pluralism and Four Grades of Postmodern Involvement. Talbot School of Theology, Biola University: La Mirada, CA90639.

Online News Hour. “The Pulitzer for Fiction.” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/ entertainment/jan-june99/pulitzer_4-13.html.

Richter, H. (1970).Virginia Woolf: The Inward Voyage. Princeton: Princeton UP.

Ricoeur, P. (1985).Time and Narrative. Vol. Two. Trans. Kathleen McLaughlin lin and David Pellauer. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Silver, B. (1999). Virginia Woolf Icon. Chicago and London: The U of Chicago.

Sim, L. (2004). “No Ordinary Day: The Hours, Virginia Woolf and Everyday Life.” Australia: Hecate Press.

Taylor, V., & Winquist, C. (2003). Encyclopedia of Postmodernism. Routledge, London: New York.

Van der Laan, Sarah. (---). “A New Hour for Woolf.” The Yale Review of Books. http://www.yale.edu/yrb/spring99/review08.htm.

Woolf, V. (1996). Mrs. Dalloway. London: Penguin Popular Classics.

Woolf, V. (1981). A Writer’s Diary: Being Extracts from the Dairy of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Leonard Woolf. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.4p.257


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.