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Chapter 1 - Market Metafiction and the Varieties of Postmodernism

from Part I - The Emergence of Market Metafiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 July 2019

Paul Crosthwaite
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

This chapter develops the book's argument that the postmodernist novel is defined by equally strongly felt imperatives to propitiate and renounce the market. It makes the case that, under these conditions, a degree of self-consciousness concerning a text’s market positioning – what the book defines as market metafiction – is always liable to arise. The chapter points to a series of examples of novels exhibiting this style of reflexivity, which demonstrate that recent texts in this mode give new visibility to techniques that have been evident in fiction for some decades. In the process, the chapter address four major – roughly historically sequential, though overlapping – tendencies in fiction shaped by the defining postmodernist double bind vis-à-vis the market. These are the "classic" or "high" metafiction of the 1960s and ’70s; the mid-’70s to mid-’90s phenomenon of “Avant-Pop” and related collisions of experimental and popular genre forms; the much-vaunted shift away from experimental postmodernism towards sincerity, “postirony,” and renewed forms of realism since the mid-1990s; and the widely discussed “genre turn” among “advanced” or “serious” novelists over the past decade.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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