Traditions of Skepticism and Discourse of Post-Truth in British Post-Postmodern Novels

Dmytro Drozdovskyi


In the paper, the forms of critical perception of reality inherent to the protagonists of contemporary British novels (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, “Carry Me Down”, “Little Stranger”, etc.) have been discussed. The author has analyzed strategies for reactivation of skepticism in British post-postmodern novel “Cloud Atlas” by D. Mitchell. The specificity of the representation of skepticism in literary post-postmodernism is investigated; in particular, theoretical considerations of L. Miroshnychenko, O. Boynitska and other experts in English/British literature have been developed. The peculiarities of dystopia as a part of the metageneric phenomenon of post-postmodernistic novel “Cloud Atlas” have been revealed. The features of representation of propositional and existential truths in contemporary British novel are outlined. The mechanisms of counteraction to the forms of post-truth and the simulacrum “truths” represented in “Cloud Atlas” as part of capitalist ideological discourse, which leads to a distorted perception of reality and civilization catastrophe, have been outlined. It is revealed that in “Cloud Atlas” there is a critique of hypertrophied consumerism and the loss by contemporary literature the ability to be the source of existential meanings. The specific features in human representation as a dual phenomenon in post-postmodern British novel (Nietzsche's conception of the revaluation of values and the will to power in “Cloud Atlas” is depicted ambivalently) has been explored in the paper.

I state that post-postmodernism is a cultural paradigm that unites aesthetic and philosophy of modernism and postmodernism. Besides, the post-postmodern novel has a specific feature resulted in a special narrative mode that combines scientific discoveries that influence the narrative with a special philosophical realm. In the paper, David Mitchell’s novel “Cloud Atlas” has been discussed as an example of post-postmodern writing that reveals emotional sincerity and skepticism, utopic way of thinking and anticolonial discourse. The novel exploits epic beginning to involve the reader in a special atmosphere created by the omnipotent narrator. The end of the story is a metaphorical return to the beginning; however, the starting point was changed. The novel exploits six separate stories that are interlinked according to the idea of eternal returning presented by Nietzsche and realized in the novel in the image of “Cloud Atlas” (symphony). The reality in the novel is exploited as a multifaceted phenomenon and time is depicted according to super-string astrophysical theory. The research gives a clue to understanding the philosophical boarders of post-postmodernism and demonstrates the combination of different discourses (humanitarian and scientific) in contemporary British novel. The paper provides new findings in explaining philosophical parameters of post-postmodern novels.


skepticism; post-postmodernism; existential truth; propositional truth; post-truth; dystopia


Bystrytskyi, Ye. (2018). Ekzystentsiina istyna i postpravda [Existential truth and post-truth]. Filosofska dumka, no. 5, pp. 54–71. URL: (accessed: 23 February 2019). (in Ukrainian).

Boynitska, O. (2015). Viktoriantsi ta psevdoviktoriantsi: transformatsiia viktorianskoho naratyvu v romani M. Nila “Anhliiski pasazhyry” [Victorians and Pseudo-Victorians: The Transformation of Victorian Narrative Modes in Matthew Kneale's English Passengers]. Science and Education a New Dimension. Philology, III (15), iss. 68, pp. 43–46. (in Ukrainian).

Hyland, M. J. (2008). Uhamuite mene [Carry Me Down]. Lviv : Calvaria, 248 p. (in Ukrainian).

Haddon, M. (2016). Zahadkovyi nichnyi intsydent iz sobakoiu [The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time]. Kharkiv : Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 221 p. (in Ukrainian).

Drozdovskyi, D. (2018). Autychne myslennia i ekzystentsialists′ki vymiry postpostmodernizmu [Autistic Way of Thinking and Existentialistic Dimensions of Postpostmodernism]. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 98, pp. 301–316. (in Ukrainian).

Lanovyk, M., Lanovyk, Z. (2018). “Smerkannia Zakhodu” Osval′da Shpenglera: providentsiina model′ nauky [“The Decline of the West” by Oswald Spengler: Providential Model of Science]. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 98, pp. 7–22. (in Ukrainian).

Miroshnychenko, L. (2013). Skeptytsyzm Sokrata i suchasnyi anhliiskyi roman [Socrates’s Skepticism and contemporary English novel]. Vid baroko do postmodernizmu, iss. XVII, vol. 2, pp. 119–125. (in Ukrainian).

Miroshnychenko, L. (2015). Skeptytsyzm i literatura: perechytuiuchy “Volodaria mukh” Viliama Goldinga [Skepticism and Literature: Rereading William’s Goldings “Lord Of The Flies”]. Inozemna filolohiia, no. 128, pp. 243–252. (in Ukrainian).

Miroshnychenko, L. (2016). Proektsii skeptytsyzmu v suchasnomu brytanskomu romani: geneza, tradytsiia, poetyka [Projections of Scepticism in Modern British Novel: Genesis, Tradition, and Poetics]. Extended Abstract of the Doctoral Thesis. Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, 42 p. (in Ukrainian).

Epstein, M. (1997). The Place of Postmodernism in Postmodernity. URL: (accessed: 23 February 2019).

Mitchell, D. (2004). Cloud Atlas.London : Random House, 528 p.

GOST Style Citations

Бистрицький, Є. (2018). Екзистенційна істина і пост правда. Філософська думка, № 5, с. 54–71. URL: (дата звернення: 23 лютого 2019).

Бойніцька, О. (2015). Вікторіанці та псевдовікторіанці: трансформація вікторіанського наративу в романі М. Ніла „Англійські пасажири”. Science and Education a New Dimension. Philology, III(15), iss. 68, с. 43–46.

Гайленд, М. Дж. (2008). Угамуйте мене. Пер. з англ. Віктора Дмитрука. Львів : Кальварія, 248 с.

Геддон, М. (2016). Загадковий нічний інцидент із собакою. Пер. з англ. Анастасії Рогози. Харків : Клуб сімейного дозвілля, 221 с.

Дроздовський, Д. (2018). Аутичне мислення й екзистенціалістські виміри пост постмодернізму. Питання літературознавства, № 98, с. 301–316.

Лановик, М., Лановик, З. (2018). „Смерокання Заходу” Освальда Шпенґлера: провіденційна модель науки. Питання літературознавства, № 98, с. 7–22.

Мірошниченко, Л. (2013). Скептицизм Сократа і сучасний англійський роман. Від бароко до постмодернізму, вип. XVІІ, т. 2, с. 119–125.

Мірошниченко, Л. (2015). Скептицизм і література: перечитуючи „Володаря мух” Вільяма Ґолдінґа. Іноземна філологія, вип. 128, с. 243–252.

Мірошниченко, Л. (2016). Проекції скептицизму в сучасному британському романі: ґенеза, традиція, поетика. Автореферат дисертації доктора наук. Київский націонаьний університет імені Тараса Шевченка, 42 с.

Epstein, M. (1997). The Place of Postmodernism in Postmodernity. URL: (дата звернення: 23 лютого 2019).

Mitchell, D. (2004). Cloud Atlas.London : Random House, 528 p.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Dmytro Drozdovskyi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The journal publishes research papers on terms: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License 


Pytannia literaturoznavstva
ISSN 2306-2908 
Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University
2 Kotsiubynsky str., Chernivtsi 58012, Ukraine