Literary Criticism

Historiographic Metafiction

A term originally coined by Linda Hutcheon, in A Poetics of Postmodernism, historiographic metafiction includes those postmodern works, usually popular novels, which are “both intensely self-reflexive and paradoxically lay claim to historical events and personages”. This is categorically a postmodern art form that relies heavily on textual play, parody and historical re-conceptualisation.

Examples of historiographic metafiction include the works of Michael Ondaatje (Running in the Family, In the Skin on a Lion, The English Patient and Coming through Slaughter) and Salman Rushdie (Shame and Midnight’s Children). Other practitioners include Peter Ackroyd, Thomas Pynchon, Angela Carter and Umberto Eco etc.




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