Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی
Assistant Professor of English Department, Islamic Azad University, Borujerd
Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University
John Barth, among postmodern American novelists, is apt to be called the reviver of Pyrrhonist tradition in the Twentieth century. In his creation of Pyrrhonist characters, he criticizes the American value system and the empty life of contemporary man in a broad sense. The End of the Road, Barth’s second novel is a successful example in which the marry traits of a protagonist give their place to the mean qualities of an antagonist. In the novel, the anti-hero characters suffering from a mental paralysis under the title “Cosmopsis” resort to “Mythotherapy” which means nothing but a distortion of identity. Among the consequences of this treatment are, of course, “Decidophobia” and “hyperbolic Cartesian doubt.” Interestingly, Barth’s description for the irrationality of such a man corresponds to the definition of rationality in Pyrrhonism. On this basis, the main question of the research arises from the fact that Barth’s views are an embodiment of those historical thoughts regarded as Pyrrhonist skepticism, which have been developed through ages by different forms. Apart from the historical impressions on the formation of modern skeptical philosophy which was flourished first by Cartesian doubt and developed by Hume’s empiricism the research also examines Barth’s postmodern-skeptical cosmology which derives from his obsession with identity and meaning. The overall point inferred by the researchers is that how Barth in The End of the Road indicates human decisions rely most on “emotions” rather than “reason” and that the rationality of man take him nowhere but in itself.
- Barth, John. The Floating Opera and The End of the Road. New York: Anchor Books, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1988.
- ---. âThe Literature of Exhaustion.â The Friday Book: Essays and Other Nonfiction. New York: Perigee Books, 1984.
- Bluestone, Gregory. âJohn Wain and John Barth: The Angry and the Accurate.â The Massachusetts Review I.3 (1959): 582â89.
- Brickhouse, Thomas C., and Nicholas D. Smith. Socratic Moral Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- Copleston, Frederick. History of Philosophy: Greece and Rome. Vol. 1. New York: Continuum, 2003.
- Hassan. âThe Question of Postmodernism.â Performing Arts Journal 6.1 (1981).
- Hollingdale, R. J. Western Philosophy: An Introduction. Trans. Abdul Hussein Azarang. Tehran: Ghoghnoos, 2002.
- Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. Ed. L.A. Selby-Bigge. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978.
- Kerner, David. âPsychodrama in Eden.â Chicago Review XIII (1959): 59â67.
- Landesman, Charles, and Roblin Meeks, eds. Philosophical Skepticism. Malden, Oxford, Victoria, Berlin: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
- LeClair, Thomas. âJohn Barthâs The Floating Opera: Death and the Craft of Fiction.â Texas Studies in Literature and Language 14.4 (1973).
- Locher, Frances C., and Ann Evory, eds. Contemporary Authors: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Authors and Their Works 53-56. Michigan: Gale, 1975.
- Nietzsche, Friedrich. Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings. Ed. Raymond Geuss and Ronald Speirs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
- Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. âPhilosophy During the Tragic Age of the Greeks.â Early Greek Philosophy and Other Essays. Trans. Maximilian A. MÃ¼gge. New York: Russell and Russell, 1964.
- Paganini, Gianni, and Jose R. M. Neto, eds. Renaissance Scepticisms. Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media, 2009.
- Schlager, Neil, and Josh Lauer. Contemporary Novelists. Farmington Hills: St. James Press, 2001.
- Scholes, Robert E. The Fabulators. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.
- Sen, Hasine. âThe Dissolution of Value and Meaning in John Barthâs the Floating Opera.â Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies 16 (2004): 95â104.
- SibiÅan, Aura. âScepticism and Play in John Barthâs the Floating Opera.â Bulletin of the Transilvania University of BraÅov 1 (2012): 85â88. IV: Philology & Cultural Studies.
- Smith, Herbert F. âBarthâs Endless Road.â Critique VI (1963): 68â76.
- Tharpe, Jac. John Barth: The Comic Sublimity of Paradox. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1974.
- Trilling, Lionel. The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.
- Waldmeir, Joseph J. Critical Essays on John Barth. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall & Co., 1980.
- Walkiewicz, E. P. John Barth. Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers, 1986.
- Watt, Ian. The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding. London: Chatto and Windus, 1957.