View Full Version : metafiction

12-05-2007, 02:08 AM
who does it best? g sorrentino? david foster w? those are the two i know.

12-05-2007, 07:06 AM
What is it?

12-05-2007, 10:03 PM
From what I understand metafiction is an narrator telling the reader how to write fiction by telling it through a fictional story. Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is an excellent example of metafiction.

12-05-2007, 10:12 PM
I think the only one I've read is The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl (http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Adventures-Rangergirl-Bantam-Spectra/dp/0553383388/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196878238&sr=8-1) by Tim Pratt. I found it enjoyable.

12-06-2007, 01:10 AM
I like "Adaptation," the movie, by Charlie Kaufman (sp?).

As I understand it metafiction is fiction in which the elements thereof (usually the characters) understand that they are elements of a fictional work.

I'm sure there's a good clean definition out there in the usual places.

12-06-2007, 01:21 AM
I hugely enjoyed Italo Calvino's "If on a winter's night a traveler." A story about a reader reading a book -- the very book in question -- it manages to comment upon the nature of fiction, it's audience, why we read, how we are engaged by fiction, and we, as readers, like to know, or not know, about authors. Probably does some other things that I've forgotten, too. Here's one: It also plays a pretty neat structural game with certain titles that, on retrospect, should be obvious, but may well be missed because one would have to read the story, after all, to get the whole meaning.

12-06-2007, 01:25 AM
ooo Adaptation. cool flick.

12-06-2007, 06:23 AM
A good definition of metafiction--http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/Literary_Criticism/postmodernism/metafiction.htm

12-06-2007, 07:30 PM
Nice link--I particularly liked all the examples. It makes me wonder about a corollary--"meta-posting" on message boards like this one, times when the posted language self-consciously draws attention to itself as an artifact in an effort to highlight the difference between virtual and real life. Or something like that. I see dissertations on the horizon. Of course it's probably already been done.

12-15-2007, 02:12 AM
I have to say I'm not too fond of it- especially when Stephen King used it as a plot device in the last three Dark Tower novels. It kept yanking the suspension of disbelief out from under me, and I didn't understand why the author of a sci-fi series so well written would want to do that. However, when Robert A. Wilson used it in his Illuminatus Trilogy, it worked, as the book was an exploration of multi-leveled philosophical views.

12-30-2007, 07:13 AM
I've just run across an interesting example of what surely must be a kind of metafiction. I just finished the last of Gore Vidal's novels about America, The Golden Age. As with most of his books in the series, starting with Burr and ending with this one, it is about the transformation of the United States into a global empire. The Golden Age also has a big dose of the literary scene. Vidal actually inserts himself into the book about half-way through as a minor character, though not a point-of-view character, since he was part of that scene. This sets up the last chapter, in which Vidal becomes a point-of-view character himself in conversation with one of his fictional characters. The character "knows" he is not a real person as he is speaking to Vidal. It ends with a meditation on the nature of fiction and what Vidal has been trying to accomplish over the decades with his books in the series. I like Vidal's writing very much, but this scene is extremely well done, I think.

I had a chance to meet Vidal last year when he came to town to give a lecture about many things--writing and whatever else was on his mind. Whatever you think of him, or of his politics, I was deeply impressed with his mind and his overall sense of purpose in writing the series. He thinks of himself as America's biographer, presenting the truth of things through fiction in a way no actual historian could do. As a sometime historian myself, I think he's right about that.

12-30-2007, 01:37 PM
musilian, Paul Auster is heavy into metafiction; seems its his main theme.

01-02-2008, 11:57 PM
Oh come on, is this even a question? The master is, and always shall be, as far as I can see, the modern creator of this, Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote is the foundation block, and the platonic ideal of what meta-fiction in the traditional sense should look like.