Metafiction

(3723 words)
  • Bernd Engler (Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The term “metafiction” has remained enigmatic and vague since it was coined in 1970 by William H. Gass in an essay entitled “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction”. Commenting on American fiction of the 1960s, Gass pointed out that a new term was needed for the emerging genre of experimental texts that openly broke with the tradition of literary realism still dominant in post-WW II American literature. Established terms like “antinovel” or “antifiction” failed to characterize the radical narrative innovations of American writers such as John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Raymond Federman, or Ronald Sukenick because these writers did not only violate or subvert the dominant conventions of novel writing, but also explicitly …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Engler, Bernd. "Metafiction". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 December 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=715, accessed 23 August 2014.]


Related Groups

  1. Novelistic Genres
  2. Literary Genres and Modes
  3. Postmodernist American Fiction
  4. Metafictional Writing