History, fiction, and the avant-garde: narrativisation and the event

Murphy, Richard (2007) History, fiction, and the avant-garde: narrativisation and the event. Phrasis: Studies in Language and Literature, 48 (1). pp. 83-103.

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Abstract

According to theorists such as Jameson and Hayden White, narrativisation has traditionally functioned as a way of endowing events with coherence, meaning and a sense of the real. This article argues that a defining feature of the modernist avant-garde and of its experiments with montage, linearity and causality is that it undermines narrativisation and consequently produces instead the opposite effect, namely "de-realisation". In contemporary culture many progressive texts have continued to attack narrativisation: firstly through various fragmented, metaleptic or wildly proliferating narrative forms (e.g. circular, or forking-path tales); but secondly through those strategies (associated with historiographic metafiction, montage or documentary) which deliberately unsettle the audience by blurring the boundary between history and fiction. Consequently links to the modernist avant-garde's critique of narrativisation can still be seen in those contemporary works (for example by Kluge, Sebald or Kieslowski) which force the audience to rethink the historiographical and narratological premises for making meaning

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 'The Annual Lecture on the Avant-Garde' (invited talk given at University of Ghent in November 2005)
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Richard Murphy
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2013 09:53
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2013 10:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19188
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