Volume 61, Issue 1, 2013
Joanna Klara Teske
Moral Commitment of the Realistic, Modernist and Postmodern Novel
The present paper discusses moral ideas expressed in the contemporary novel of the realistic, modernist and postmodern conventions. More precisely, it tries to define how the poetics of a given convention determines the novel’s ethical thought. It is argued that both the modernist and postmodern fiction, which are often perceived as amoral or relativist, are morally committed, though perhaps not as much as the realistic convention. The shape of this moral commitment is consistent with the dominant of each convention (epistemological in modernism and ontological in postmodernism). These theoretical considerations are subsequently illustrated with three case studies of Virginia Woolf’s novels (each of which represents a different convention). Throughout the whole essay the emphasis falls on the meaning of the novelistic form, i.e. on the way that the novel’s form conveys the novel’s interpretation of reality.