Nine Writers of Postmodernist Metafiction: Explaining the Literary Tricks that Undo Realistic Discourse

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A fascinating analysis of postmodernist metafictional writers offering a unique juxtapositioning of authors from distinct cultural worlds with their varied fictional narrative techniques. A must read for comparative literature, postmodernist fiction and cultural studies interests.


“El-Meligi displays a truly impressive knowledge of literary criticism and wisely focuses on prominent theorists…in order to elucidate central novelistic concerns and intercultural struggles…This book will prove to be an indispensable tool for scholars and students alike…”
-Professor Nadya Chisty-Mujahid,
American University in Cairo

“In this new and provocative series of readings of postmodernist metafiction, Eman El-Meligi explores the rich borderlands between fiction and reality and the suggestive reflexivity of experimental narrative form…El-Meligi illuminates both the multilayered meanings of metafiction and the urgent social and political questions each narrative work explores.”
-Professor Lisa R. Portmess,
Gettysburg College

Table of Contents

Commendatory Foreword by Professor Lisa R. Portmess
Chapter One: Intertextuality, the Simulacrum and the Academy Novel:
A Comparative Reading of Reality and Hyperreality in David Lodge’s Nice Work,
Richard Powers’ Galatea 2.2, and Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran.

Lodge, Metafiction and Hyperreality
Intertextuality, Paratextuality, and the Simulacrum
The Academy Novel: Literary Theory and the Victorian Novel
Pastiche and The Two-World Nation
Binarism and Autobiography
Human? Hubristic?
Metafiction and Postmodernism
Hypertexts and Simulacra
The Academy Novel: Lodge and Powers
Is Galatea Pygmalion? Intertextuality and Reversal of Roles
Cognitive Theory and Artificial Intelligence
Nafisi and Scheherazade: Intertextuality Politicized
Magic Realism and Aborted Creativity
Nabokov and The Magician
Binarism: Persian vs. Islamic
Lodge and Nafisi: Parody and Metafiction
Paratextuality and the Simularcrum
The Academy Novel and Intertextuality
Lodge, Powers and Nafisi: Intertextuality, the Simulacrum and the Academy Novel
Works Cited
Chapter Two: Nadine Gordimer’s July’s People: A Postcolonial Metanarrative
Magic Realism and Intertextuality
The Subaltern
Sisyphus: Cyclical Narrative Structure
Archetypes and Defamiliarization
Symbolism of Title
Prison Notebooks and Decolonization of the Mind
Mythical Time
Narrative Technique
Forbidden Knowledge and the Fall
Black Skin, White Masks?
The Epigraph and Gramsci
Hegemony and Complicity
Works Cited
Chapter Three: Dehyphenated Identity and Carnivalesque Polyphony: A Bakhtinian Reading of Hybridity and Female Characters in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior
Liminality and Hybridity
Heteroglossia and the Chronotope
Polyphony: Nation and Narration
A Revisionist Tale
Dialogism and Symbolism of Character
Postmodernism and Metanarratives
Dissemination and Dehyphenation
Storytelling and Amnesia
Oral vs. Written Archive
Carnivalesque Rewriting of Narrative
Feminism and Ambivalence
Smith and Kingston
Dehyphenated Identity
Heteroplossia and the Chronotope
Metafiction and Authenticity
Works Cited
Chapter Four: “Memory Seemed Unwise”: Archaeological Dynamics of Memory and Amnesia: An Archetypal Reading of Toni Morrison’s Beloved
Archaeology, Memory and Archetypes
Memory and Symbolism of Character
Animal Imagery and Racism
Decolonizing the Mind
Regressus-ad-Uterum: Symbolism of the Narrative
Water Imagery: Reminiscence and Painful Resurrection
Gravity of History: Dynamics of Memory and Amnesia
Works Cited
Chapter Five: “Not on the World’s Map”: Cartography, Magic Realism and the Image of the Other: A Study of Symbolism in Hilary Mantel’s Eight Months on Ghazzah Street
Symbolism of Time and Setting
Binarism and narrative Structure
“Not on the World’s Map”: cartography, the Simulacrum and the Image of the Other
The Original-Replica Binarism: Juxtaposition of Motifs and Symbols
Forbidden Knowledge
Absurdist ‘Chairs’
Works Cited
Chapter Six: Alaa Al-Aswany: A Foucauldian Reading
Discourse and Power
The Panopticon and Surveillance: Discipline and Punish
Repressed Sexuality and Homophobia
Clinical Terminology and Normalizing Discourse
Islamists and the Gravity of History
Foucault and Aswany: Revisionist Counternarratives
Works Cited
Interview with Alaa al-Aswany

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