Public Sphere , Todd Kontje argues that the bildungsroman is metafiction because it theorizes about itself and its status as fiction at the same time that it portrays the life of an artist ( 9-15 ) . Kontje maintains that the ...
Author: Madelyn Jablon
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Black Metafiction examines the tradition of self-consciousness in African American literature. It points to the short-comings of theories of metafiction founded on studies of Anglo-American literature. While some literary critics situate metafiction within the domain of postmodernism, others regard it to be as old as storytelling itself. Scholars of African American literature acknowledge it to be a distinguishing feature. Critics such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Houston A. Baker, Jr., perceive it as fundamental to the aesthetics of the black vernacutar. Black Metafiction analyzes and evaluates these theories, comparing work by scholars of comparative, Anglo-American, and African American literature. Jablon's study leads to her revision of established theories and provides a model for the evaluation and reformulation of other Eurocentric theories. Jablon begins with a historical overview of theories of metafiction by scholars who specialize in African American literature and Anglo-American literature. She situates metafiction within African American literary history, tracing it from slave narratives to a discussion of ten contemporary novels, including Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar, Leon Forrest's Divine Days, Walter Mosley's Black Betty, Charles Johnson's Middle Passage, Rita Dove's Through the Ivory Gate, Arthur Flowers' Another Good Loving Blues, Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying, Toni Morrison's Tar Baby, Octavia Butter's Parable of the Sower, and Charlotte Watson Sherman's One Dark Body. Among the topics Jablon addresses are the Kunstlerroman and the blues hero; the thematization of art; voice, metanarrative, and the oral tradition; and genres of metafiction.