Experimental forms in contemporary fiction

Dorling, Alan (1985) Experimental forms in contemporary fiction. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Concerned with developments in contemporary innovative fiction Experimental Forms in Contemporary Fiction locates 'post- Modernist' writing largely within a North American context.

William Burroughs, Ronald Sukenick, Donald Barthelme, Ishmael Reed, Robert Coover and Steve Katz are identified as the exemplary post-Modernist figures; their favoured techniques --a combination of cancellation and erasure, fragmentation and discontinuity, game and play--express an indeterminancy of meaning which places post-Modernist writing at some distance from the writing of contemporary figures like Vladimir Nabokov, John Hawkes and John Barth, who, as identifiably 'neo- Modernists', are essentially concerned with extending Modernism's restorative and paralleling features into the contemporary literary discourse. At the same time, post- Modernist fiction bears only a passing resemblence to the work of innovative contemporary British writers like B. S. Johnson, Gabriel Josipovici and J. G. Ballard, who are inclined to impose a series of disruptive forms upon mimetic substance.

Uniquely post-Modernist fiction celebrates an eternity of displacement by insisting that unity, coherence and system are totalitarian concepts inimicable to the necessary free- lay of the imagination. Therefore, even as Burroughs et al express long-standing American literary concerns, post- Modernist fiction is demonstrably part of the deconstructive shift away from holistic and humanistic ideas and procedures. Post-Modernist writing, therefore, initiates a crisis within literary criticism, one which needs to be examined against the background of contemporary philosophical, cultural, and social developments.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Keywords: Experimental fiction, Contemporary American fiction
Subjects: P Language and literature > PS American literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of American and Canadian Studies
Item ID: 13310
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 24 May 2013 09:21
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016 01:41
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13310

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