Lee's Notes about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Postmodernism

last updated 3/10/08


This play was first produced in 1967 during the hay day of the Postmodern literary movement, so I want to tell you a few things about it, and about Postmodernism, that may make it a little easier, and more enjoyable to read.

Postmodernism was a reaction to modernism's fixation on language play, but it was also a reaction to realism, originality, and humanity (or the humanism of the Romantics).  Many think that the postmodern era started when the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  How do the old answers for the world hold up after such a potentially insane act?  After WWII, there was what some considered and even more insane proliferation of technology and bombs and chemicals.  Thus you will see a lot of postmodern works dealing with technologism, dystopia, paranoia, dehumanization and many other "insanity" themes.

Technically (or speaking in a writerly fashion) postmodern texts often played greatly with:

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Ros and Guil to their friends) is a postmodern play because it deals with:

If you want to know more about postmodernism, try these lectures:

Lee's -Ism Lecture

Lee's Pomo Avant-Garde Lecture

Lee's Pomo Laundry List