Tracing Politics and Postmodernism in The Noise of Time

Aida Džiho-Šator


With his 2016 novel The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes showed once again that he had not finished with postmodernist experimentations, nor with his interest in biography and history. This paper discusses the political and postmodernist elements of The Noise of Time. In The Noise of TimeBarnes embarks on a journey of exploration of the strains political repression has on an artist living and working in Stalinist Russia where everything was conducted under the directives of the political regime. Barnes intertwines the characteristics of both postmodernism and politicalnovel to render a fictional biography of Dimitri Shostakovich, a renowned Soviet composer who lived and worked through the oppression of Stalin’s regime and in the years of his successors. In his portrayal of the workings and implications that ideological artistic doctrines and forms of political power can have on artists, Barnes uses primarily intertextuality and historiographic metafiction, and this paper will mostly focus on these two postmodernist elements of the novel.


political novel; postmodernism; intertextuality; historiographic metafiction; Julian Barnes; The Noise of Time

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