By Patricia Waugh
Metafiction starts by way of surveying the country of latest fiction in Britain and the US and explores the advanced political, social and financial elements which impression severe judgment of fiction. the writer exhibits how, because the novel has been eclipsed via the mass media, novelists have sought to continue and regain a large readership by means of drawing at the issues and preoccupations of those types. utilising modern fiction through such writers as Fowles, Borges, Spark, Barthelme, Brautigan, Vonnegut and Barth, and drawing on Russian Formalist theories of literary evolution, the ebook argues that metafiction makes use of parody besides well known genres and non-literary types as a fashion not just of disclosing the insufficient and obsolescent conventions of the vintage novel, yet of stuggesting the traces alongside which fiction may well boost sooner or later.
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Extra resources for Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction (New Accents)
Goffman 1974, P. 251) Play, games and metafiction All art is ‘play’ in its creation of other symbolic worlds; ‘fiction is primarily an elaborate way of pretending, and pretending is a fundamental element of play and games’ (Detweiler 1976, p. 51). Without necessarily accepting the Freudian notion that art and literature act as compensatory forms of gratification replacing for an adult the lost childhood world of play and escapism, it can be argued not only that literary fiction is a form of play (if a very sophisticated form) but that play is an important and necessary aspect of human society.
The latter, for example, is close to metafiction in that the game of chess, traditionally a metaphor for life, is used here as a metaphor for the strategies of art. Luzhin is one of Nabokov’s 44 Metafiction familiar artist manqué figures, playing blind games of chess in order to achieve abstract perfection until the ‘consecutive repetition of a familiar pattern’ (p. 168) becomes an invincible opponent taking over his life. In a state of paranoia similar to Woolf’s Septimus Smith, he throws himself out of the window and dies in what his chess-obsessed mind has taken to be a real-life game.
The Splendide-Hotel, though never defined, is clearly the verbal imagination itself, seen as intrinsically playful rather than intrinsically aesthetic. The narrator intrudes with the information that ‘I insist I do not speak of this game as art, yet it is close to art in that it is so narrowly itself: it does not stand for anything else’ (p. 14). He thus offers a view of literature similar to that formulated by Roman Jakobson: the view that literature is a message for its own sake, or a message about itself (Jakobson 1960).
Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction (New Accents) by Patricia Waugh