Summer 1987 • Vol. IX No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 1987 |

Fiction as Its Own Subject: An Essay and Two Examples: Anderson’s ‘Death in the Woods’ and Weaver’s ‘The Parts of Speech’

The terms "metafiction" and "self-reflexive fiction" have been used to denote fiction's deliberately self-conscious employment of technique to bolster the deteriorated equipment of more conventional methods with which the art is concealed. Thus, for example, Barth employs anti-illusion as an instrument of illusion enhancement; Fowles offers alternate endings following a point-counterpoint of fiction and fact to dramatize the nature of existential choice; Calvino fabricates an interweave of reality and illusion which leaves the reader wondering over the juncture of illusion in his own reality-fiction. Conventional plot and linear story are cast aside as hopeless simplifications of the existential experience, or else they are consciously toyed with, manipulated, poked and pinched to squeeze new life from them. Some readers and writers balk at this sort of experiment or innovation as gimmicky and decadent. They point to Aristotle's classic statement that in the greatest art, the art

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