•  
  •  
 

Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal at Clark

Abstract

Realism, the genre in which literature is expected to reflect reality, tends to act as the default setting for establish- ing the worth of a given piece. This paper contends that metafiction, a post-modern genre characterized by a work’s awareness of its own fictional nature, has been damaged by realism’s standards. Using a case study of two metafic- tional works, John Barth’s “Life-Story” and David Foster Wallace’s Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way against a historical and theoretical backdrop, the paper both isolates metafiction from realism while describing its deliberate artistic mission. This identity is based on open acknowledgement of the reader’s involvement in the text and metafiction which is not only self-aware but also able to deliver meaning outside of itself. These findings are significant because they liberate a new field from old criticism, contributing to the academy’s acceptance of experi- mental art.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.