Meta-Fiction Revisited

metaJulie Proudfoot posted an interesting list of metafiction by female authors on her weblog Proud Foot Words. Rather than just reblog I decided to repost the list and add some additional commentary concerning Meta-Fiction.

First, Julie indicates that Wikipedia defines Metafiction as a form of fiction in which the text—either directly or through the characters within—is ‘aware’ that it is a form of fiction. There’s an interesting problem even in this definition since it implies that the fictional characters are somehow separate from the text of the fiction. Does this make the definition itself meta? If you really want to expand on this theme, I recommend you read almost anything by Raymond Federman but specifically Take It or Leave It (Julie recommends Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds, which of course is one of the classics of metafiction).

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R. Mutt Reading List

Way back in the year 2009 Barack Obama was still being heralded as the first black President of the United States (heralded by some, vilified by others) and the Los Angeles Times published the 61 Essential Postmodern Reads: An Annotated List. I have posted the titles but I highly recommend going back to the original article to read the fun and informative annotations. First, an introduction from the article:

DadaThe thing about postmodernism is it’s impossible to pin down exactly what might make a book postmodern. In looking at the attributes of the essential postmodern reads, we found some were downright contradictory. Postmodern books have a reputation for being massive tomes, like David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” — but then there’s “The Mezzanine” by Nicholson Baker, which has just 144 pages. And while postmodern books would, you’d think, have to be published after the modern period — in the 20th or 21st centuries — could postmodernism exist without “Tristram Shandy”? We think not.

Below is our list of the 61 essential reads of postmodern literature. It’s annotated with the attributes below — the author is a character, fiction and reality are blurred, the text includes fictional artifacts, such as letters, lyrics, even whole other books, and so on.

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