This course will examine the dismantling possibilities of the playful, ironic, and anxious modes of metafiction at the same time that it fashions a set of methods for thinking more broadly about experimentalism in literature. As sites of aesthetic experimentation, straddling the worlds of the discursive and the fictional, the literary and the epistemological, we will consider how metafictional texts and experimental literary works (including e-lit)—such as Pablo Katchadjian’s illegible novel Mucho trabajo (2011) or Alejandro Zambra’s book of poetry in the form of a standardized multiple-choice test in Facsímil (2014)—:
Challenge formal, generic, and stylistic conventions and expectations;
How such texts evince metaliterary preoccupations with the nature of literature, the condition of writing itself, and the tasks confronting the reader;
How they problematize the means and objectives of representation in and of itself and disrupt perceptual and cognitive experiences;
The ways in which texts function pedagogically or anti-pedagogically in their efforts to reconfigure author-character-reader relations;
How they may depict transgressive approaches to their work;
How they raise questions about storytelling and history as they posit questions regarding truth, meaning, and the limits of knowledge.
Readings will focus on texts from Spain and Latin America in the 20th and 21st centuries and will be considered in tandem with theoretical and methodological readings (Spires and Herzberger, as well as Eco, Foucault, Hutcheon, & Hayles, among others).
Instructor: Prof. Anna Torres-Cacoullos
M 2:00-4:50 pm