The Hybrids of Postmodernism

The Hybrids of Postmodernism | Dana BADULESCU

Abstract: Hybridization is a fundamental characteristic of postmodernism, included by Ihab Hassan in his “catena” of features. This paper looks into the hybrids of postmodernism, which are the result of migration, displacement and uprooting, the re-visitation of myths, folklore and legends, or projections of their author’s imagination. The hybrids used as examples here are drawn from several novels written by Salman Rushdie, especially The Satanic Verses, two short stories, one by Márquez and the other by Donald Barthelme, Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, Cartarescu’s Encyclopaedia of Dragons and Michelle Cliff’s No Telephone to Heaven. Diverse as they may be, these hybrids emphasize a defining characteristic of postmodernism, which is its pluralism. I conclude that the hybrids of postmodernism are aesthetically or politically subversive. Besides, what makes them difficult to grasp is their unfixed and protean nature. They ask for high leaps of the imagination, a total suspension of disbelief and a complete surrender to the powerful seduction of imagination on the reader’s part.

Keywords: Hybrids, hybridization, hybridity, postmodernism, dream, imagination, suspension of disbelief.