Contemporary Literature

Table of Contents

    Contemporary literature generally refers to the body of work produced after the World War II, around 1960s. Various literature such as modernist, postmodernist and contemporary are hard to segregate because of the overlapping timelines of events and their consequent actions. The rise of globalization disseminated the cultural values of the western world to other regions and countries. This is one of the reasons why contemporary literature not just includes literature from the first world countries, but also incorporates Asian and African literature with minor differences. Also, postcolonial literature also emerged as a strong form of literary genre which explicitly promoted the native writers of former colonies and write back to the colonizers.

    Few underlying themes highlight the diverse nature of contemporary literature: internal conflict, effects of popular culture, hegemony of first world countries and psycho-social pressure causing alienation and misery. These themes constantly alter and shift themselves to accommodate the ever-changing concerns of contemporary society, for instance African literature evolved immensely during the second half of 20th century. Public awareness and stimulation of self-consciousness prompted writers to address issues such as corruption, human welfare and economic development. This emerging sensibility has greatly shifted the conception and method of writers as well as readers which previously treated literary works in terms of ‘text’ only; now it’s the site of social unrest and platform to raise voice against social issues.

    Popular fiction is also included under contemporary literature and has been a major tool to explore social issues as well as generate profits. Fantasy and sci-fi writers such J.R.R Tolkein, J.K Rowling, Isaac Asimov among others writes novels and other works for common masses. It is necessary to understand that the growing influence of cultural paradigms of every country specifically caters to the motives, nature and psychology of its masses which then gets reflected in the literature.