Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern

Article excerpt

Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern, by Marianne DeKoven. Duke, June 2004. $23.95

For those who actually experienced what DeKoven describes as the "long "6os" as young adults, as she did, this decade will always represent a pivotal time, if for no other reason than the intense personal passage it represented. Rut in this book she sets out some of her own experiences in this time, but only as prelude. She commits herself to show how the '6os represent more than a point in her own life, but a pivotal point in the movement from modernism to postmodernism. She avoids the best-of-times-or-worst-oftimes judgments of many who have studied the '6os in favor of a relatively neutral assessment of how modernity and postmodernity coexisted in the thinking of those texts that either were influential in shaping the '6os Utopian mood, or were written by those who shaped those times.

She has identified what she considers representative texts of the '6os and put them under her microscope. She finds simultaneity within a declining modernism and a postmodernism emergence. By examining writers such as Herbert Marcuse, Hunter Thompson, Alan Burroughs, Toni Morrison and others, she persuasively documents the "cusp" and the "pivot" that the '6os encompassed. …

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