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Postmodernist fiction

Postmodernist fiction

McHale, Brian

Like it or not, the term `postmodernism' seems to have lodged itself in our critical and theoretical discourses. We have a postmodern architecture, a postmodern dance, perhaps even a postmodern philosophy and a postmodern condition. But do we have a postmodernist fiction? In this trenchant and lively study Brian McHale undertakes to construct a version of postmodernist fiction which encompasses forms as wide-ranging as North American metafiction, Latin American magic realism, the French New New Novel, concrete prose and science fiction. Considering a variety of theoretical approaches including those of Ingarden, Eco, Dolezel, Pavel, and Hrushovski, McHale shows that the common denominator is postmodernist fiction's ability to thrust its own ontological status into the foreground and to raise questions about the world (or worlds) in which we live. Far from being, as unsympathetic critics have sometimes complained, about nothing but itself -- or even about nothing at all -- postmodernist fiction in McHale's construction of it proves to be about (among other things) those hardy literary perennials, Love and Death. itself in our critical and theoretical discourses. We have a,--- postmodern architecture, a postmodern dance, perhaps even a postmodern philosophy and a postmodern condition. But do we have a postmodernist fiction? Brian McHale undertakes to construct a version capacious enough to include North American metafiction, Latin American magic realism, the French New New Novel, concrete prose and science fiction, to name but a few of its forms. The common denominator is postmodernist fiction's ability to thrust its own ontological status into the foreground and to raise questions about the world (or worlds) in which we live. Exploiting various theoretical approaches to literary ontology - those of Ingarden, Eco, Dolezel, Pavel, Hrushovski and others - and ranging widely over contemporary world literature, McHale assembles a comprehensive repertoire of postmodernist fiction's strategies of world-making and -unmaking. Far from being, as unsympathetic critics have sometimes complained, about nothing but itself or even about nothing at all, postmodernist fiction in McHale's construction of it proves to be about (among other things) those hardy literary perennials, Love and Death. "This is one of the most lively and lucid studies of contemporary fiction around. Whether or not you agree with his provocative definition of the postmodern, McHale's argument is always engaging, bold, and forceful."_ Linda Hutcheon

Book. English.
Published London; New York: Routledge, 1989
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Details

Statement of responsibility: Brian McHale
ISBN: 0415045134, 9780415045131
Note: Originally published, London: Methuen, 1987.
Note: Includes index.
Physical Description: xii,264p ; 24 cm.
Subject: Fiction 20th century History and criticism.; Fiction 1925-1985 Critical studies; Postmodernism.

Contents

  1. Part 1
  2. Preliminaries  1. From modernist to postmodernist fiction: change of dominant  2. Some ontologies of fiction  Part 2
  3. Worlds  3. In the Zone  4. Worlds in collusion  5. A world next door  6. Real, compared to what?  Part 3
  4. Construction  7. Worlds under erasure  8. Chinese-box worlds  Part 5. Words  9. Tropological worlds  10. Styled worlds  11. Worlds of discourse  Part 5
  5. Groundings  12. Worlds on paper  13. Authors: dead and posthumous  14. Love and death in the post-modernist novel