The IUP Journal of English Studies
Characters in Pursuit of the Author for Revenge: Reading Paul Auster’s Travels in the Scriptorium as a Metafictional Fête

Article Details
Pub. Date : Sep, 2019
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES21909
Author Name : Avijit Pramanik and Arindam Modak
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
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No. of Pages : 09

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Abstract

The term “metafiction” has stemmed forth varied tendentious criticisms and problematically denied all sorts of arduous efforts to confine it to any specific straightjacketed definition. While literally the prefix “meta” means “beyond,” making metafiction a literary offshoot which is “beyond fiction,” critics have been divided on the true nature of metafiction. Despite the multifarious interpretations of metafiction by various critics, we can attempt to figure out a few characteristics which include foregrounding the fictionality of fiction and reality, laying bare the writing technique, presentation of the paradoxical status of author-power, intertextuality, authorial intrusion and interaction with fictional characters, direct address to the readers, and projection of language as an arbitrary system. This paper seeks to locate the classic metafictional traits in Paul Auster ’s much-celebrated novel Travels in the Scriptorium and discern the answer to the question posed by the novel toward its ontological existence.


Introduction

The term “metafiction” has stemmed forth varied tendentious criticisms and problematically denied all sorts of arduous efforts to confine it to any specific straightjacketed definition. While literally the prefix “meta” means “beyond,” making metafiction a literary offshoot which is “beyond fiction,” critics have been divided on the true nature of metafiction. Roughly, the first critical studies of metafiction were pursued by Jean Ricardou and Lucien Dällenbach in France, and Robert Scholes in America, but it was only with Robert Alter’s Partial Magic: The Novel as a Self-Conscious Genre (1975) “that the critical implication of narrative narcissism began to be confronted” (Hutcheon 1980, 4).


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