Artists and writers of the late 20th century had witnessed the horrors of the First and Second World Wars, the Holocaust, the Cold, Korean and Vietnam Wars, the torturous progress of the civil rights movement and the upheavals and inequalities of late-capitalist society. They were confronted with a world fragmented and transformed by technology and conflict, seemingly devoid of the meaning that had grounded the grand narratives of Western culture. This course will explore the innovations in language and form that postmodernists used to construct this altered reality while deconstructing identity, reason and even truth itself. In class discussions and analytical and creative writing assignments, students will consider the use of metafiction, paradox, intertextuality, subjectivity, black humor, time distortion and other tools of postmodernist writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Joseph Heller, Kathy Acker, Thomas Pynchon, Italo Calvino, Heinrich Boll and George Saunders.