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“So how do you separate modernism from postmodernism in literature? I always get confused,” asked a well-dressed man as he wandered through the Seminary Co-op’s low-ceilinged corridors with a female companion.

“That’s a good question. It’s something I’m trying to decide in my own work,” she responded as the two stopped to browse a table of books late Thursday afternoon.

As campus empties for the holiday break, intellectual conversation—and shopping—continues at the Co-op. Best-sellers, said a staffer, include New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s compendium Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978–2006; Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel, Against the Day; and The Great Latke Hamantash Debate. Students wanting to get a jump-start on next quarter’s classes can check out the back shelves, which are quickly filling up with course texts.

And for those parsing out modernism and postmodernism, a quick search on the Co-op’s database turns up more than 2,000 books on literary theory.


Photo: Two shoppers chat literary theory.

December 15, 2006