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Metafiction and JM Coetzee's Foe Essay

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Metafiction and JM Coetzee's Foe

 
Is writing not a fine thing, Friday? Are you not filled with joy to know that you will live forever, after a manner? (Susan Barton, Foe, 58)

Of the many literary conventions used to describe JM Coetzee's Foe, one of the more commonly written about is metafiction. Since about 1970, the term metafiction has been used widely to discuss works of post-modern fiction and has been the source of heated debate on whether its employ marks the death or the rebirth of the novel. A dominant theme in post-modern fiction, the term "metafiction" has been defined by literary critics in multiple ways. John Barth offers perhaps the most simplified definition: metafiction is "a novel that imitates a novel rather than the real world." Patricia Waugh extends our understanding to add that it is "fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to itself as an artifact to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality." According to these definitions, metafiction concerns itself not with the creation of a new narra...


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