Taking the I out of Being: Zen Buddhism and Postmodern (Dis)contents in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being

  • Mojca Krevel Univerza v Ljubljani, Slovenia


By internalizing Zen Buddhist teachings, the protagonists of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (2013) resolve their conflicts with the world and within themselves. The scenario echoes current theoretical interest in the Buddhist concept of no-self as a model of self that is suited to the postmodern condition. This article argues that since the fundamental Buddhist principles conceptually accommodate the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics—the key to the novel’s structure—and the metaphysical framework of postmodernity, Ozeki’s novel illuminates the empowering aspects of the fractal nature of postmodern selves, while charting the possibilities for their actualization.Keywords: Buddhism; digital cultures; empowerment; fractal subject; postmodernity

Author Biography

Mojca Krevel, Univerza v Ljubljani, Slovenia
Mojca Krevel is Full Professor of Literatures in English at the University of Ljubljana. She is the author of books on cyberpunk fiction and the Avant-pop and the editor of a volume on hybridity in postmodern American fiction. She is coeditor of the journal ELOPE. Her research focuses primarilyon contemporary American fiction from the perspective of the ongoing historical paradigm shift.


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