Introduction: By the advent of late twentieth century many experts and critics stated that the novel has experienced “an aesthetic sea change”, one affected by an inherent “desire to reconnect language to the social sphere” (McLaughlin 54). Dubbed as “Post-postmodern”, the new novels’ emphasize an engagement with the social world is perhaps something that promotes a more direct political engagement. This essay explores the literary representation of the spatial, temporal, and subjective relationships between the individual and a society increasingly dominated by the proliferation of reproducible images and spectacles. To this end, Franco Bifo Berardi's anatomization of what he knows as the latest phase of neoliberal-capitalist system or "semiocapitalism" would be used as the central theoretical framework in an attempt to answer the following questions: What does a return to social engagement mean for fiction as presented in the novels of David Foster Wallace? What the modality of the critique is in post-postmodern fiction as conceived of in the work of Wallace?
Background of Study: Along with other thinkers such as Christian Marazzi and Antonio Negri Berardi has conceptualized the relation between language and the economy and described the "subsumption" and the submission of the biopolitical sphere of affection and language to financial capitalism. However, Berardi opts to look for a way to resist capitalism, to achieve autonomy and tries to do that from the unusual perspective of literature. This critical perspective has been adopted in this article to reveal its implications in more depth when applied to a selected number of David Foster Wallace’s fiction and can be viewed as a new step in the interpretation of the post-postmodern novels.
Methodology: This essay scrutinizes the post-postmodern novel – as the emanation of language – as a suitable tool to combat semiocapitalism and to construct a strong social fabric that would affect personal and collective consciousness, consequently helping the emergence of social and political change. The focus is also on defining the formal and thematic elements of post-postmodern literature with emphasis on how the structures of such texts contribute to the critique of capitalism by compelling reader participation and response.
Conclusion: Post-postmodern novelists like Wallace often write huge, informationally savvy, and erudite novels asserting that in the age of semiocapitalism and proliferation of information there is more to incorporate, discuss and debate in fiction. Post-postmodern fiction focuses on the explorations of knowledge and information and the power, even the necessity, of narrative to help us order that information and to achieve the task of meaningfully staying informed in an otherwise meaningless info-saturated semiocapitalist condition. Consequently, by deeply scrutinizing the post-postmodern novels’ narrative and formal structure, it is concluded that these works are inherently oppositional to the contemporary socio-political system. The subject is also scrutinized from a different point of view: the incompatibility between economy and aesthetics. It is argued that aesthetics and political economy stand in a characteristic relationship with each other since it is utterly impossible to reduce the former into the latter. While the contemporary economy is all about abstraction, aesthetics is all about the concrete experience of the sensitive mind. Post-postmodern fiction as a new manifestation of aesthetics with its rejection of unrealistic plots and descriptions is read as an attempt to help us achieve a concrete experience of the “real” world as an accentuation of fiction’s social impact or a line of escape from an all-pervasive abstract semiocapital context.