Postmodernist Fiction

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Taylor & Francis, Jun 19, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 288 pages
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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

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Review: Postmodernist Fiction

User Review  - Megan - Goodreads

excellent study of pomo except: too much pynchon not enough acker. no acker at all, in fact! but, to his credit, discusses in detail cortazar and angela carter, neither of whom get enough cred amid the coover and the pynchon. Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Brian McHale is Humanities Distinguished Professor at The Ohio State University, USA.

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