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Hermeneutic fecundity and the post-modern regeneration of the wor(l)d (?): Calvino, Spark, Bathelme, Lispector

Rock, Stela Duff Pereira (1996) Hermeneutic fecundity and the post-modern regeneration of the wor(l)d (?): Calvino, Spark, Bathelme, Lispector. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Although metafictional writing is not a post-modern innovation - it is in fact an old literary practice - this mode of writing has become ubiquitously favoured by contemporary Western writers to the extent that the two terms metafiction and post-modernism have become at times interchangeable. Yet this should not be so. Metafiction as a literary technique is to be regarded as one of the manifestations of post-modern creative writing. From this now persistent mode of writing emerges a highly didactic and self-explanatory type of literature which is the focus of my present work.

Always using a comparative literature approach which involves cultural diversities and based on multi-lingual situations and their interconnectivity, this study, in a sense, because of its inherent self-reflexivity, becomes a questioning on the meaning of "thesis” in the old strict sense of the word: a proposition laid down or stated to be discussed and proved (?) or to be maintained against attack. Is the thesis, as such, as relevant to the present polysemic intellectual climate of our age as it used to be? What seems important now is to allow interpretational possibilities to be articulated from myriads of speaking/writing positions and to be able to achieve a balance of receptivity (and even understanding) of other ways of seeing and expressing thoughts and feelings.

In a mode of writing which will be heteroglossic, embracing diverse genres and types of discourses - a novelistic thesis? - and making use of the space opened up by recent creative criticism(s) such as those of Roland Barthes, William Gass, Helene Cixous, lhab Hassan, Olga de Sa, Antonia Susan Byatt, Octavio Paz, Italo Calvino, Milan Kundera, Jacques Derrida, Leonardo Boff and several others, I shall attempt to make reading/writing/theory/ criticism sources of learning and delight.

A very close reading of selected texts of four major contemporary writers: Donald Barthelme, Italo Calvino, Clarice Lispector and Muriel Spark will form the core of the present study.

The readings I have undertaken will not only clarify metafiction as a phenomenon but will also provide an avenue into some post-modern way(s) of thinking.

In the light of two necessary frameworks: deconstruction and hermeneutics and via the chosen literary texts, I shall attempt to help define the creative reading/writing momentum and to explicate in what ways these texts (to a great extent) reflect the post-modern debate and life.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Webb, Hugh
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