undermine its own undermining

MINDY_OY

Senior Member
Chinese
Hey everyone,

What does "undermine its own undermining" in this sentence "One may argue that in doing so it undermines its own underminging, so to speak, and leaves us with nothing at all." This statement is excerpted from a paragraph concerning the way to interpret postmodern fiction. The quoted "it" refers to "postmodern fiction".

To make myself understood, I just quote here the orginal relevant paragraph:

We can see postmodern fiction as liberating because it destabilizes preconceived notions with regard to language, representation, subject, history, morality, and because it effectively undermines all metanarratives and all beliefs and values that derive from metanarratives. Hoever, it always also undermines itself...One may argue that in doing so it undermines itw own undermining...
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    To "undermine" something is to attack or weaken something in some way. So if you "undermine your own undermining", you lessen or weaken the attack that you made earlier on something. You contradict or disprove your own critical remarks about something.
     

    MINDY_OY

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks a lot for your timely reply, owlman:)

    That's how I've read that phrase. I thought it meant that the postmodern fiction in doing so tried to weaken its own undermining effects, that is, it tried to validate itself. But then I found that if it was understood in this sense, then the clause that followed "and leaves us with nothing at all" seemed quite contradictory.



    To "undermine" something is to attack or weaken something in some way. So if you "undermine your own undermining", you lessen or weaken the attack that you made earlier on something. You contradict or disprove your own critical remarks about something.
     
    Last edited:

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't read a contradiction here, Mindy. I read it to mean: You criticized something. Then you used other remarks that undermined your criticism. Now you are left with nothing. Your criticism is gone, and you might as well have remained silent about the subject. Once you have disproved yourself, then you have effectively "erased" your criticism, leaving nothing.

    You are going to find a lot of strange language in any text dealing with post-modernist thought. Post-modernist thinkers and writers have invented many new terms. Most people don't understand them. I suspect that much of this language will remain in the texts of those writers without ever being adopted by others.
     

    MINDY_OY

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Ah, great, I got it. Thank you very much , owlman:)

    In this context, it means the postmodern fiction upsets and weakens preconceived notions and metanarratives, but it also weakens its criticism because of, for instance, its exposure of fictionality. So as the readers, we might learn nothing from its reasoning at all.



    I don't read a contradiction here, Mindy. I read it to mean: You criticized something. Then you used other remarks that undermined your criticism. Now you are left with nothing. Your criticism is gone, and you might as well have remained silent about the subject. Once you have disproved yourself, then you have effectively "erased" your criticism, leaving nothing.

    You are going to find a lot of strange language in any text dealing with post-modernist thought. Post-modernist thinkers and writers have invented many new terms. Most people don't understand them. I suspect that much of this language will remain in the texts of those writers without ever being adopted by others.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Ah, great, I got it. Thank you very much , owlman:)

    In this context, it means the postmodern fiction upsets and weakens preconceived notions and metanarratives, but it also weakens its criticism because of, for instance, its exposure of fictionality. So as the readers, we might learn nothing from its reasoning at all.
    That's exactly how I read it, Mindy.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top