Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium
Literary and Cultural Studies
"The 'Historical' Film: Reclaiming the Past as Modern 'Parody' and Postmodern 'Pastiche' in The Hours and Marie Antoinette"
In Postmodernism: or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1990), Fredric Jameson erects a series of binaries to illustrate a shift from Modernism to Postmodernism during the 20th-century. I apply Jameson's cultural dichotomies to the contemporary "historical" film in exploring how representations of history become a modernist form of "parody" or a postmodernist form of "pastiche." Though Daldry's The Hours (2002) appears more "modern" against Coppola's "postmodern" Marie Antoinette (2006), Jameson's terms nevertheless slip in application, causing us to question not only the veracity of Jameson's theory but also the state of contemporary filmmaking as we experience history through culture.