Immanent Indeterminacy: Tracing Postmodernity in John Banville’s Neo-Realist Novel The Sea

Document Type : Research Article


Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran


This study aimed at exploring the ontological indeterminacies of The Sea (2005), a novel by John Banville using the postmodern catena put forth by Ihab Hassan. Hassan’s catalogue of the features of postmodern fiction includes indeterminacy, fragmentation, decanonization, selflessness, depthlessness, the unpresentable/unrepresentable, irony, hybridization, carnivalization, performance, participation, constructionism, and immanence. In the present study, the use of each of these traits was traced in the novel and the appropriateness of these techniques with regard to the world of the novel was studied. Max Morden, the protagonist, desperately excavates his memories in search of a meaning for life, but in vain. The postmodern features incorporated in the narrative of the novel help uncover the inconsistencies of the subject’s mind when faced with an indeterminate world.


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