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Metafiction and the Postwar Novel is a full-length reassessment of one of the definitive literary forms of the postwar period, sometimes known as 'postmodern metafiction'.
In the place of large-scale theorizing, this book centres on the intimacies of writing situations - metafiction as it responds to readers, literary reception, and earlier works in a career.
The emergence of archival materials and posthumously published works helps to bring into view thestakes of different moments of writing.
It develops new terms for discussing literary self-reflexivity, derived from a reading of Don Quixote and its reception by J.L.
Borges - the 'self of writing' and the 'public author as signature'.
Across three comprehensive chapters, Metafiction and Postwar Fiction shows how some of the most highly-regarded postwar writers were motivated to incorporate reflexive elements into their writing - and to what ends.
The first chapter, on South African novelist J. M. Coetzee, shows with a new clarity how his fictions drew from and relativized academic literary theory and the conditions of writing in apartheid South Africa.
The second chapter, on New Zealand writer Janet Frame, drawswidely from her fictions, autobiographies, and posthumously published materials.
It demonstrates the terms in which her writing addresses a readership seemingly convinced that her work expressed the interior experience of 'madness'.
The final chapter, on American writer Philip Roth, shows how his early receptionled to his later, and often explosive, reconsiderations of identity and literary value in postwar America.
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