Historiographic Metafiction (USA) (3509 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • Kurt Müller (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)


The powerful re-emergence of the historical novel, a genre initially launched by Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley (1814), has been one of the most remarkable phenomena in recent literature. From its beginnings in the early nineteenth century, the genre had been under attack from both historians and literary critics as a “bastard art” for its supposedly “impure” mix of the fictitious and the historical. Yet it is exactly this mix and the contested relationship between the two that is the central concern of historiographic metafiction.

In the context of contemporary postmodernism, historiographic metafiction can be seen as part of the general phenomenon of metafiction that rose in the 1960s and 1970s as a reaction …

Müller, Kurt. "Historiographic Metafiction (USA)". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 November 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1512, accessed 28 October 2016.]

Related Groups

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