The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction
Routledge – 2002 – 186 pages
Series: New Accents
Metafiction begins by surveying the state of contemporary fiction in Britain and America and explores the complex political, social and economic factors which influence critical judgment of fiction. The author shows how, as the novel has been eclipsed by the mass media, novelists have sought to retain and regain a wide readership by drawing on the themes and preoccupations of these forms. Making use of contemporary fiction by such writers as Fowles, Borges, Spark, Barthelme, Brautigan, Vonnegut and Barth, and drawing on Russian Formalist theories of literary evolution, the book argues that metafiction uses parody along with popular genres and non-literary forms as a way not only of exposing the inadequate and obsolescent conventions of the classic novel, but of stuggesting the lines along which fiction might develop in the future.