Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

John Travolta as Vince in Pulp Fiction, screengrab, © Miramax

Pulp Fiction (US 1994) was taken by many, at the time of release, to exemplify 'postmodernism'. This case study for the second edition (updated for the fourth in 2006) explores such claims via close textual analysis, especially of the film's clever narrative shaping and its use of modernist techniques. This goes alongside a careful account of its production and promotion histories, including work on Tarantino's star image as 'auteur-director'.

The case study makes a sceptical and materially grounded exploration of claims made for the term 'postmodern'. It should help you not only with textual and industrial approaches to media, but also with the discourses around 'postmodernism'. These still circulate, though with not quite the force they once did. You may find it interesting to relate them, via the 5th edition, to the changes wrought by social media in globalised and often corporate power structures. Hugely transforming claims are made for these media, and this way of organising the world. Is 'postmodern' the most helpful term to describe them? How would it relate to 'neoliberal' for example, as discussed in the latest edition?


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