American Fiction: Modernism-Postmodernism, Popular Culture, and Metafiction

Article excerpt

American Fiction: Modernism-Postmodernism, Popular Culture, and Metafiction Jaroslav Kusnir. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2007.

Increasingly, European scholars are reading popular culture for its effect on so-called elite literature (and other arts) and finding ways to tip the edge for further analysis. Kusnir's examination is a good and fruitful example. He uses such authors as Robert Coover Donald Barthelme, Edgar Lawrence Doctorow, and Richard Brautigan, writing "postmodern narrative strategies, techniques and tropes, especially postmodern parody, irony, metafiction, fragmentation and juxtaposition of reality and fantasy, to undermine traditional formulas, genres and kinds of writing such as westerns, Gothic novels, pornography, fairy tales, popular autobiographies (travel books), cartoons and science-fiction ... by parodying traditional narrative conventions and formulas, provide a critique of the stereotypical image of reality and particular cultural identities constructed and manipulated by the media and popular culture" (42). It's a large order for Kusnir and he looks under every rock of possibility for clues and examples. …