The Selvage of Incoherence

Metamodernism in Padgett Powell’s 'The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?'


The edge of incoherence is a strong position . . . Not incoherence outright, but the selvage as it were, affords a bi-directional movement between dissolution and precipitation, liquid and solid, that can absorb about any assault, any direction, gross or subtle, acid, base, land, sea, or air.

—Padgett Powell (You & Me: A Novel,  2012)

Every sentence in Padgett Powell’s The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? is a question; 164 pages of interrogation. The title even questions itself, its own status as a novel. This questioning of itself, of its own validity along with the juxtaposition of serious questions to trivial ones etc. has an arguably Postmodern resonance, yet The Interrogative Mood also contains elements that resonate with a more Modernist ideology, namely in the area of subjectivity. The Interrogative Mood therefore is neither Postmodern nor Modern, yet it contains attributes of both. It could, then, be said to belong to what Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker have termed “Metamodern.” Vermeulen and van den Akker coined the term as an alternative to the redundant “Post-Postmodern,” but it is not only an exercise in nomenclature. Vermeulen and van den Akker utilize the term to house a concept that they have made great attempts to define and explain, and it is, in fact, an ongoing investigation. At this point in time there is very little research concerning Metamodernist literature and none at all suggesting that The Interrogative Mood is a Metamodern text. The intention of this essay, therefore, is to examine how Padgett Powell’s treatment of literary devices in The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? situates the text in the realm of Metamodernism. This examination will be carried out in three sections. The first will consider Powell’s treatment of subjectivity, the second will examine the intertextual possibilities which The Interrogative Mood opens up, and the third will analyze motifs and themes in the text.


I. The Question of Subjectivity

Is there anything you’d like to ask me? Are you curious to know what I’ll do with the answers you’ve given me? Do you think I can make some kind of meaningful ‘profile’ of you? Could you or someone, do you think, make such a profile of me from the questions I have asked you?

—Padgett Powell (The Interrogative Mood, 2009)

In The Interrogative Mood there are no characters, no protagonists, no family crises, no love affairs, no wars, no plot to follow the protagonist through or to find oneself absorbed in, no conflict or resolution, no setting, and no time or place to speak of. There is, however, subjectivity in The Interrogative Mood. It is not the lack of characters, plot or setting that lends The Interrogative Mood to a Metamodernist reading – both Modernism and Postmodernism contain texts that lack one or more of these elements – it is, rather, Powell’s treatment of the subject that does.

 In Performatism, or the End of Postmodernism, Raoul Eshelman outlines Post-Postmodernist subjectivity in terms of what he refers to as “Performatism.” Eshelman argues that his particular concept of Performatism is expressed in literature by “narrative closure in double frames” (55), which “ensure obligatory reader identification with the subjects trapped in those frames – devices that are at loggerheads with prevailing postmodern notions of how texts work” (55). This double-framing of the subjects which Eshelman describes occurs both within and without The Interrogative Mood. Eshelman claims that a “successful performance depends on the unforced will of an authorially framed subject and not on the author himself” (“Performatism” 11). In The Interrogative Mood, however, the author frames himself as the subject within the text, yet the author is also outside the text. In keeping with Performatism, within the parameters of The Interrogative Mood, the reader is forced to identify with the novel’s narrative voice, which, in this case, is the subject as well, and to associate that voice, that character with the ideas and thoughts which are expressed by it. However, the reader is lead to believe that the views, longings, experiences, observations etc. are Powell’s own. This is achieved by the first person point of view and intimacy that is conveyed to the reader through narrative elements in The Interrogative Mood. In his blog post, Padgett Powell: The Interrogative Mood, A Novel? Shigekuni discusses the effect of this intimacy on the reader:

As you read on, engrossed by the entertaining surface, you enter into a kind of intimacy with the narrator, listening for his voice, for personal issues even in perfectly innocent questions. This is a work that the book expects you to do. It relies firmly upon our instincts to look for and draw connections even between seemingly unconnected events and statements.

There are several narrative elements that help foster this intimacy. For example, the continual use of “we” in the text: “How did we go so wrong?” (Powell 18), “Can we say with certainty that we are free?” (Powell 142), and “Did we have things to do?” (Powell 12). There is an unavoidable notion of conspiracy between the reader and the narrator, for example, “Are you with me here?” (Powell 14), and “If we heard the ice-cream man right now dinging down the street and we scrambled for some change, maybe even from within the sofa, and went out there breathlessly and caught him, what would you order?” (Powell 93). These elements are prevalent throughout The Interrogative Mood and they provide the raw materials for the construction of this first framed subject, the author/subject.

In Strategies of the Metamodern, Metamodernist subjectivity is described as “the enactment of a truth that cannot be true, the establishment of a holistic, coherent identity that cannot exist” (2). The Interrogative Mood’s subjects accomplish this contradictory coherence through an agreement of sorts, which is made between the reader and the author/subject; an agreement in which all parties are complicit in the performance of “willful self-deceit” (Strategies 2). The narrator plays with this consciousness of paradox and contradiction that is his or her own identity: “May I tell you that the author of that sentence . . . is not me and I don’t know who the author is?” (Powell 127). This contradiction, this “posing” on the part of the author/subject fits precisely with Eshelman’s discussion of Post-Postmodernist subjectivity:

As in many postmodernist narratives, it first causes us to identify with a central character and then abruptly undercuts the terms of that identification. One thing about it, however, is odd. Rather than leaving us in an attitude of skeptical undecidability regarding the hero, as       postmodernist texts tend to do, it encourages us to revise our skepticism and identify with his story even though we know it to be false. (69)

The reader accepts that The Interrogative Mood’s narrator is posing as Padgett Powell, and the reader continues to identify with the author/subject in spite of the contradiction, in spite of the false identity that is presented.

In her article on Metamodernist subjectivity, Notes on the State of the Subject, Simone Stirner echos Eshelman’s argument when she suggests that we, the (Metamodern) audience, are presented with “characters who masquerade as coherent subjects” (2-3). Stirner further argues that these subjects “are innovative figures who step into the scene with a quirkiness that, perhaps precisely because of their idiosyncratic authenticity, renders possible a new relation between literary hero and recipient” (2-3). This new relationship between subject and reader is apparent in The Interrogative Mood, not only because of the “idiosyncratic authenticity” (Stirner 2-3), of the author/subject, but also due to the nature of the text’s subjectivity. The second “authorially framed subject” (Eshelman 11) is the reader, and like the author/subject, the reader/subject is at once subject, author, and recipient. The reader is presented with and bound to the ideas, thoughts etc. of the author/subject within the text, framed by said author/subject’s questions, as well as their own responses. The dialogue between the subject within The Interrogative Mood and the one without creates a multi-dimensional world where authorial intention, the reader, and the text are all, simultaneously, centers and structures, in the Derridean sense. The author/subject’s questions and the reader/subject’s answers to the questions posed create a multi-dimensional space, where Metamodernism’s oscillating energy thrives.

Some questions in the The Interrogative Mood are of a more (seemingly) frivolous nature such as, “Do you favor the toad over the frog?” (Powell 56), or “Are you bothered by socks not matching up in subtler respects than color?” (Powell 4), while others inspire deeper contemplation, such as, “Are your emotions pure?” (Powell 1), or “Are you prepared for the end?” (Powell 27). Furthermore, the reader/subject is allowed the space to alter their answers to reposed questions, for example, “What is the best meal you have ever had (and forgive me if I have asked this before; if I have, do not feel compelled to give me the same answer)?” (Powell 75), which allows the reader/subject to reinvent themselves, or to simply answer based on their current mood. Therefore, The Interrogative Mood does create a “profile” of sorts of the reader/subject as well as the author/subject, but this profile is a fluid rather than static one. The questions posed, and their subsequent answers, collectively paint a portrait of both the reader and the author, but these portraits contain inconsistent images, “coherent identit[ies] that cannot exist” (Strategies 2). Therefore, authorial intention in The Interrogative Mood is not dead in the Barthian sense where all literary interpretation lies within the faculties of the reader, but the author and authorial intention become a layer within the multi-dimensional world that is created by the text. The author’s portrait, therefore, is inextricable from and imbedded in the reader’s. In The Death of the Author Barthes argues the contrary:

Linguistically, the author is never more than the instance of writing, just as I is nothing other than the instance of saying I: language knows a ‘subject,’ not a ‘person,’and this subject, empty outside of the very enunciation which defines it, suffices to make language ‘hold together,’ suffices, that is to say, to exhaust it. (145)

In keeping with Metamodernism’s oscillating energy, however, Barthes’ notion that the author and the “I” (145) of the text must die because there is no “voice of a single person, the author ‘confiding’ in us” (143), is countered, rather than cancelled out, by maintaining this belief and the belief in the author/subject, which is framed in The Interrogative Mood. Perhaps then, the narration device of questioning the reader in The Interrogative Mood goes a step beyond the death of the author into a reincarnation of sorts where the author’s intention, voice, individuality etc. matter as much as the reader’s, and as much as the text.

The Metamodernist subject, in general, is different from both that of Modernist and Postmodernist subjects, in its demand of faith in a coherent identity, in truth and the simultaneous deconstruction of that same identity, of that same truth. In The Interrogative Mood, specifically, Metamodernist subjectivity opens the barriers between author, text and reader, which, in turn, creates a boundless relationship between the three elements.


II. An Intertextual Mood

Does it change things a bit for you to perceive that these questions want you bad? And that they are perhaps independent of me, to some degree? That they are somewhat akin to, say, zombies of the interrogative mood?

—Padgett Powell (The Interrogative Mood, 2009)

The Interrogative Mood creates unique intertextual possibilities; it is designed to elicit responses, generate questions, and, in doing so, it creates endless layers of both, on the part of the author/subject as well as the reader/subject. Georgetown University’s “Intertextuality” describes intertextuality in general terms:

On its most basic level, intertextuality is the concept of texts’ borrowing of each others’ words and concepts. This could mean as much as an entire ideological concept and as little as a word or phrase. As authors borrow pro-actively from previous texts, their work gains layers of meaning. Also, another feature of  intertextuality reveals itself when a text is read in light of another text, in which case all of the assumptions and implications surrounding the other text shed light on and shape the way a text is interpreted. (1)

The intertextuality associated with The Interrogative Mood is decidedly devoid of pastiche and conscious references to or plays on other texts; instead, it seeks, in an arguably Metamodern fashion, to counter and to embrace, “unity and plurality, totality and fragmentation, purity and ambiguity” (Vermeulen and van den Akker 4), in its intertextuality. The questions posed in the text can be perceived as both fragmented and fragmenting, in their lack of cohesion and in the multiplicity of responses, respectively. However, at the moment The Interrogative Mood is written, read, and responded to it becomes an intertext, and the author, the reader and the text are tantamount to one another, moving together in an endless oscillating cycle of death and rebirth. Furthermore, texts that use The Interrogative Mood in an intertextual sense do not necessarily borrow from it, but rather respond to it.

In Susan Stanford Friedman’s article, “Weavings: Intertextuality and the (Re) Birth of the Author” she poses the following questions: “Does the ‘birth’ of intertextuality as a critical term insist upon the ‘death’ of influence as its conceptual precursor? Is the ‘death’ of the author as writer the precondition for the ‘birth’ of the critic as reader?” (146). Friedman argues that since Kristeva’s coinage of the term intertextuality, and since Barthes “proclaimed the ‘death of the author’ in 1968, these two questions have been entwined, indeed knotted together” (146). The Metamodern intertextuality in The Interrogative Mood seeks to answer these questions or to, at least, loosen the knots that bind these questions together, allowing space for oscillation.

The act of questioning the reader in The Interrogative Mood is the text’s most fundamental intertextual element. Each reader creates their own text, their own catalogue of responses to The Interrogative Mood’s questions. In doing so, the reader contradicts Barthes’ theory concerning the role of the reader. Not only does he declare the author’s death, but Barthes also declares the reader a blank slate:

The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed        without any of them being lost; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination. Yet this destination cannot any longer be personal; the reader is without history, biography, psychology; he is simply that someone who holds together in a single field all the traces by which written text is constituted. (148)

In keeping with Barthes theory, no individual holds total authority over The Interrogative Mood. However, each reader is also an author and each reader applies their own meaning to the questions posed, each question is interpreted and, thus, answered based on the individual’s associations with the questions’ contents. For example, the interpretation of the word “bonds” in the following sentence, “Do you comprehend with complete certainty how bonds work?” (Powell 18), could be vastly different: an emotional bond, a chemical bond, or a bond in the financial sense, depending on the background and knowledge of the reader (and the author). However, the author/subject’s intent to question the reader still remains. Therefore, authorial intention constantly oscillates between death and (re)birth. Similarly, the reader’s responses to the author’s questions, are just that: responses; responses which are guided, not only by the reader, but by the author’s questions as well.

For example, in The Interrogative Mood Powell includes the reader in a step beyond questioning, by inviting the reader not only to answer the questions, but to formulate them, to author them. For example, “I see ‘red feathers’ and ‘mud-caked face’ and possibly ‘red feathers on a mud-caked face’ but I cannot formulate the question- can you help me with this one?” (13), and “Have I forgotten the question that goes here? Was it ‘Is it raining?’” (Powell 9). Each reader is allowed the space to interpret the words and formulate the questions, but at the author’s request, and the reader is not asked to formulate questions without the author’s specific phrases and ideas. In this sense, The Interrogative Mood equates a sort of call and response brand of intertextuality between the subjects and between the texts.

This idea is reflected in Catherine Baird’s novel, The Responsive Mood. In The Responsive Mood Baird answers each and every question posed in the The Interrogative Mood without the repetition of Powell’s questions, for example, “Yes and no; in that order” (49), “Grass, naturally” (57), and “Purse, inhaler, bank card, lipstick, notebook, pen, all rolled up in two pairs of pajamas” (963). The Responsive Mood, when read as an isolated text, is a series of statements, observations, and, occasionally, questions, all of which reflect characteristics belonging to the Postmodernist branch of Metamodernism, that is to say, fragmentation and ambiguity. However, the reading of the texts together does more than simply “shape the way the text is interpreted” (Intertextuality 1); it alters it completely; it unifies it. Friedman argues that, in both Barthes and Kristeva’s view, “Intertextuality is an ‘anonymous’ and ‘impersonal’ process of blending, clashing and intersecting. Texts ‘blend and clash,’ not people. Supplanting the ‘he’ or ‘she’ of a preceding author, the ‘it’ of a text engages in intertextual play” (149). Similarly, Umberto Eco argues that “It is not true that works are created by their authors. Works are created by works, texts are created by texts, all together they speak to each other independently of the intentions of their authors” (qtd. in Habere 57). The premise of this intertextuality relies on the death of the author, but if the author is reincarnated into the multi-dimensional folds of the text, as is the case in The Interrogative Mood, intertextuality, by Kristeva and Barthes’ definition is countered by Metamodernism. The role of intertextuality in The Interrogative Mood, therefore, experiences a paradigmatic shift, where the reader/ and author/subjects as well as the texts interact as opposed to, simply, the “it” of the texts (Friedman 149).

The Responsive Mood when read palimpsestically with The Interrogative Mood becomes a dialogue between the two texts, between the two author/subjects. There is a constant movement between ambiguity and clarity, between fragmentation and wholeness; the texts and the author/subjects “blend and clash” (Friedman 149). The Responsive Mood’s author/subject’s previously cited responses, when coupled with The Interrogative Mood’s questions, are infused with entirely different meanings, for example, the statement, “Yes and no; in that order” (Baird 49), when viewed as a response to the question, “Did you love your mother and your father, and do Psalms do it for you?” (Powell 1), shifts from vague and ambiguous to highly specific. Similarly, “Grass, naturally” (Baird 57), is brought into sharper focus when framed by the following question: “If tennis courts could be of but one surface, which surface should that be?” (Powell 2), and “Purse, inhaler, bank card, lipstick, notebook, pen, all rolled up in two pairs of pajamas” (Baird 963), becomes a practical list rather than an abstract one when considered alongside the question: “If you lived in a little bunk on a big boat or barge and anything you had onboard had to be in the aggregate about the size of a toaster, what would you have onboard?” (Powell 103). This unity between the two texts dissolves as soon as the texts are once again separated or as soon as the reader ceases to respond, which Vermeulen and van den Akker describe as a typical metamodern oscillation, “an unsuccessful negotiation, between two opposite poles (7).

In addition to The Responsive Mood there are also a number of blogs that seek to respond to The Interrogative Mood by answering one or more of the text’s questions. Rather than idolizing or analyzing characters or themes (or the author himself) in The Interrogative Mood these blogs respond to the questions posed, which creates more and more layers of intertextuality. These blog posts, taking their cue from The Interrogative Mood, create a domino effect: followers of the blogs answer and repost the questions on their own blogs and so on and so forth. For example, in The Interrogative Mood: A Blog? the question from The Interrogative Mood, “Could Mendeleyev place you correctly in a square on a chart of periodic identities, or would you resonate all over the board?” (1), is posed and subsequently responded to by the blog’s author. In this response the blogger includes a link to an online quiz entitled, “What Element Are You?” In addition to answering the posted question from Powell’s text, the blog’s followers are also lead to the quiz, which generates a new discussion. In Claire Dudman’s post The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? by Padgett Powell on her blog, Keeper of the Snails, she responds to The Interrogative Mood in the format of interrogation. It could be argued that Dudman’s questions are aimed, exclusively, at Powell himself. However, when considered in the context of Metamodernism, where there is constant oscillation between the death and rebirth of the author, the questions are aimed towards both the reader of Dudman’s blog and the The Interrogative Mood’s author/subject.

The intertextual paradigm that is created by Metamodernism, by The Interrogative Mood, requires an acceptance of both the death of the author as well as the validity of authorial intention. It requires both the acceptance of a linear intertextuality, where texts rely on other texts for interpretation, and a multidimensional one, where meanings are derived from a multitude of spaces, including both the author and the readers’ historical, biographical and psychological backgrounds. This paradigmatic shift requires the inclusion of both Modernist and Postmodernist ideologies.


III. Meta-Motifs

Is there a connection of any sort between life after death and the leavening of bread?

 —Padgett Powell (The Interrogative Mood, 2009)

The motifs, themes, symbolism and imagery that are expressed in The Interrogative Mood are reflective of Metamodernism’s oscillating energy, its movement between differing states, modes and concepts. This oscillation can be found in the structure of The Interrogative Mood, most notably in the juxtaposition of questions, as well as in the text’s contents, in its symbolism, ideas and imagery. The Interrogative Mood’s themes and motifs claim a broad territory, ranging from, for example, the meaning of life to the various observations/situations concerning birds and feathers. However, it is neither the abundance, nor the diversity of thematic material that distinguishes The Interrogative Mood as Metamodern; it is, instead, the way in which these themes are treated in the text that does.

The most fundamental function of The Interrogative Mood’s themes and motifs lies in Powell’s treatment of conceptual dichotomies. The destabilization of such dichotomies is the premise of Derrida’s theory of Deconstruction. There is an interconnectedness between Deconstruction and Postmodernism, and, in drawing from the latter, Metamodernism also draws from the tenets of the former. In “Deconstruction,” Benjamin Graves describes Deconstruction’s approach to dichotomous concepts: “Derrida examines a hierarchical binary opposition (in this example, speech/writing) in which one term is privileged over the other” (1), Derrida, then “reverses the binary opposition by re-privileging writing, but with the important caveat that this inversion is itself unstable and susceptible to continual displacement” (1). The idea of “continual displacement” (Graves 1) is at work in the Deconstruction of both Metamodernism and Postmodernism. In the Metamodern context, however, this movement is not viewed as unstable, insofar as oscillation lies at Metamodernism’s foundation. Furthermore, the difference between the respective Deconstructive forces of Metamodernism and Postmodernism lies in what they achieve, respectively. A Metamodernist work “redirects the modern piece by drawing attention to what it cannot present in its language, what it cannot signify in its own terms” (Vermeulen and van den Akker 10). Alternatively, a Postmodernist work “deconstructs it by pointing exactly to what it presents, by exposing precisely what it signifies” (Vermeulen and van den Akker 10). Therefore, the Deconstruction of conceptual dichotomies in Metamodernist terms would be more aptly described through the additional terms of reconstruction and rerouting (Vermeulen and van den Akker 2). The Interrogative Mood achieves this reconstruction/rerouting not only by rendering obsolete the differences and oppositions between forces through Deconstruction, but also by redirecting the attention of said Deconstruction. However, Vermeulen and van den Akker argue that Metamodernism “should not merely be understood as re-appropriation” (12), but that it should be interpreted as the re-signification of “‘the commonplace with significance, the ordinary with mystery, the familiar with the seemliness of the unfamiliar, and the finite with the semblance of the infinite’. Indeed, it should be interpreted as Novalis, as the opening up of new lands in situ of the old one” (12). Hence, the utilization of Deconstruction in tandem with reconstruction/rerouting.

In structural terms, Metamodernism’s reconstruction/rerouting is seen in the juxtaposition of questions. The Interrogative Mood’s juxtaposition reflects Metamodernism’s oscillating, “both-neither” tension as opposed to Postmodernism’s “neither-nor” tension (Vermeulen and van Den Akker 9-10). The effect of this structural juxtaposition acts as a theme, or meta-motif, within itself and, as themes tend to do, it acts, to some degree, on a subconscious level until the reader is irked or haunted by the concept behind the theme. Individually these juxtapositional instances are small, but collectively they create a powerful idea or message. The creation of both-neither tension is achieved through the blending, Deconstruction, and subsequent reconstruction/rerouting of opposing or differing modes. For example, questions containing thought provoking and/or bizarre ideas are juxtaposed with questions containing elements that are comparatively frivolous and commonplace: “What circumstances would you be required before you would attempt to garrote someone with a piano wire? Have you ever eaten a candy flower of the sort used to decorate commercial cakes?” (Powell 84) and “If you contracted a disease that ate away your eyelids, would you shoot yourself? Could you live on a boat?” (Powell 33). By positioning differing or opposing concepts side-by-side Powell Deconstructs the structure of the serious/frivolous dichotomy, which, in turn reconstructs/reroutes the movement of the concepts. In other words, concepts of the familiar, the commonplace oscillate together with those of the unfamiliar, the bizarre, if not in unity then, at least, in some form of equality. The message created by Metamodernism’s both-neither tension within the text’s structure is echoed in the contents of The Interrogative Mood’s themes.

Some of The Interrogative Mood’s questions resonate with a more Modernist ideology. For instance, the following question implies the belief in a unified, knowable self: “At what age would you say your character was set – that is, when do you think you were you?” (Powell 59). On the other hand, the following question draws attention to the Postmodernist relationship between consumerism, over-industrialization and selfhood: “Is there anything you might do today that would distinguish you from being just a vessel of consumption and pollution with a proper presence in the herd?” (Powell 28). In addition, the following sentence contains both Modernist and Postmodernist concepts concerning the self: “If we had these profiles, could we not relax and let them do the work of living for us and take our true selves on a long vacation? (Powell 69). The assertion here is that a unified, “true” self as well as a fragmented self exist. The dichotomy, then, of unity and fragmentation of the self is Deconstructed. Rather than assuming Postmodernism’s neither-nor tension, however, this dichotomy is reconstructed and rerouted through Metamodernism’s both-neither tension.

This reconstruction/rerouting also occurs within the dichotomies of hope/despair, sentimentality/apathy, and optimism/pessimism in The Interrogative Mood. In the following series of question the sentiments of both hope and despair are expressed: “Is there any hope?” (112), “Can we hope for a better tomorrow?” (143), and “Is there hope for peace in the world, all over it and at one time?” (64). Furthermore, in the following lines Powell does not advocate hope over despair, he allows for oscillation between the two:

If you were in a streaming crowd being pushed into what appears to be a bifurcated tunnel ahead, and over one entrance was the word HOPE and over the other NO HOPE, and you could just barely manage to maneuver yourself within the crush of the crowd into either entrance, and it looked like a preponderance of the crowd was entering HOPE, which entrance would you take? (53)

Furthermore, a sentimentality for the past, for things lost to the past is expressed in the following questions: “Have I carried on before you yet about how I miss the days of home milk delivery and drinking milk from those scoured heavy-lipped cold bottles . . . ?” (Powell 37), and “Can you say why there are no longer TV shows featuring the loyal heroics of dogs and horses?” (Powell 93). Alternately, there are questions that critique modern society and express irony, apathy and pessimism for either the present or the future, or both, as is illustrated in the following questions:  “Wasn’t there a day on earth when not every soul was possessed of his or her own petty political and personal-identity agenda?” (Powell 18), and “Would you have the slightest idea, if we somehow started over, how to reinvent the radio or even the telephone?” (Powell 3).

The Interrogative Mood’s treatment of motifs and themes Deconstructs these conceptual dichotomies through the destabilization of opposing poles and differing concepts through “continual displacement” (Graves 1). However, this treatment also reconstructs and reroutes, which emphasizes Metamodernism’s both-neither tension and re-signifies “the commonplace with significance . . . the familiar with the seemliness of the unfamiliar” (Vermeulen and van den Akker 12), and so on.


Works Cited

Baird, Catherine. The Responsive Mood: A-Novel. Cumbernauld: Frontier Writers, 2010. Kindle  edition.

Barthes, Roland. “The Death of the Author,” Image Music Text, ed. Heath, S. London: Fontana   Press, 1977. 142-148. PDF.

“Could Mendeleyev place you correctly in a square on a chart of periodic identities, or would you resonate all over the board?” The Interrogative Mood: A Blog? WordPress. 6 Feb. 2011.  Web. 20 May 2013.

Dudman, Claire. “The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? by Padgett Powell.” Keeper of the Snails: The  Literary Blog of Clare Dudman. Blogspot. 24 Aug, 2010. Web. 20 May 2013.

Eshelman, Raoul. Performatism, or the End of Postmodernism. Aurora: The Davies Group, 2008.  E-brary. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

—. “Performatism, or the End of Postmodernism.” Anthropoetics. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

Friedman, Susan Stanford. “Weavings: Intertextuality and the (Re)Birth of the Author.” Influence and Intertextuality. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991. Eds. Jay Clayton and Eric Rothstein. 146-180. E-brary. Web. 13 April, 2013.

Graves, Benjamin. “Deconstruction.” Contemporary, Postcolonial, and Postimperial Literature in English. 1998. Web. 20 May 2013.

Habere, Adolphe. “Intertextuality in Theory and Practice.” Lireratûra 49.5 (2007): 54-67. PDF.

Powell, Padgett. The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? New York: Harper Collins, 2009. Kindle edition.

—. You & Me: A Novel. New York: Harper Collins, 2012. Kindle edition.

Narrative Wiki. “Intertextuality.” Georgetown University. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

Shigekuni. “Padget Powell: The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?” Shigekuni. WordPress. 23 Jan.   2010. Web. 20 May 2013.

Stirner, Simone. “Notes on the State of the Subject.” Notes on Metamodernism. 2 Nov., 2011. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.

“Strategies of the Metamodern.” Notes on Metamodernism. 1 Aug., 2010. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.

Vermeulen, Timotheus  and van den akker, Robin. “Notes on Metamodernism,” Journal of Aesthetics and Culture 2 (2010): 1-14. PDF.