Interpreting Great Classics of Literature as Metatheatre and Metafiction

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This volume examines a variety of comparative literary texts from different periods, literary traditions and cultures that are drawn on to examine metatheatricality and metafictionality. Metatheatre and metafiction are considered for their interrelation, impact and correspondence with seventeenth century French drama, the eighteenth century German novel, twentieth century English drama, an old English epic text, Indian postmodernist fiction, as well as Greek and Roman Classical works of antiquity.


“…these essays demonstrate that the terms ”metafiction” and “metatheatre” are actually conceptual bridges, routes of passage between times and cultures, and therefore categories that destabilize conventional ways of marking period and space. …these two analytic categories can renew our understanding of classic texts.” -Prof. Matthew Wilson Smith, Boston University

“The self-reflexivity of literature has become a truism in the postmodern period and many have also pointed to previous historical periods in which such writing has occurred.”-Prof. Gary Kochhar-Lindgren, University of Washington

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor John T. Hamilton


Introduction by David Gallagher and Mary Ann Frese Witt Page

Chapter 1: Metatheatre on Metatheatre: Kushner on Corneille
Mary Ann Frese Witt (North Carolina State University)

Chapter 2: Metatheatre and Philosophy: Tom Stoppard and the Juggling of Ideas
Martin Puchner (Columbia University)

Chapter 3: Jean Racine’s and Matthew Maguire’s Phaedras Athena Coronis (University of Patras)

Chapter 4: Metaliterary Metaphor in Ovid’s Metamorphoses Anita Nikkanen (Harvard University)

Chapter 5: Manifesting Beowulf’s Meta-Monsters
Ali M. Meghdadi (University of California, Irvine)

Chapter 6: Rushdie’s Metafictional Extravaganza: Storytelling in The Enchantress of Florence and Midnight’s Children Aparna Zambare (Central Michigan University)

Chapter 7: Metafiction in Wieland’s Geschichte des Agathon David Gallagher (Royal Holloway, University of London)



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