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Contemporary American Trauma Narratives$
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Alan Gibbs

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641147

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641147.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Traumatic Metafiction and Ontological Crisis

Traumatic Metafiction and Ontological Crisis

(p.85) Chapter 2 Traumatic Metafiction and Ontological Crisis
Contemporary American Trauma Narratives

Alan Gibbs

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 2 focuses in detail upon the idea of traumatic metafiction, which this book argues is a more extreme, effective, and parodic form of the representation of trauma. This analysis is carried out mainly through the example of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), but also Jess Walter’s The Zero (2006) and Laird Hunt’s The Exquisite (2006). Danielewski’s novel is interpreted here as a culmination of numerous postmodernist trauma concerns, both formal and thematic. As a traumatic metafiction, the text is partly orientated as a parody of trauma genre texts, but the experimental form of narrating voice, in particular the complex interpolated narration Danielewski employs, is equally worthy of notice as a strikingly original vehicle for narrating trauma.

Keywords:   traumatic metafiction, parody, Danielewski, Walter, Hunt, inscribed narrator, ontological crisis, postmodernism

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