Title Historiographic Metafiction in Selected Novels by Julian Barnes
Author : أمل أحمد الامين
University جامعة البعث
Domain كلية الآداب و العلوم الإنسانية /
Date 12 يناير, 2023
keyword Novels Selected Historiographic Metafiction Julian Barnes

This thesis starts by briefly defining postmodernism and historiographic metafiction. The representation of the past is of great importance in postmodern novels because it establishes a continual interplay between fabulation and fact. The past plays a major role in the present because without the past, there would be no present or future.

The First Chapter aims at showing how A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, by Julian Barnes, questions the authenticity of historical documentation. The past can only be known through historiography and available documents. Historiography includes the use of emplotment and the notion of viewpoint which implies subjectivity. This subjectivity renders historical texts and documents open to interpretation which would allow different people to view the same thing differently.

The Second Chapter shows how The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes questions the reliability of memory. Memory sometimes becomes tricky and unreliable as a source of what really happened in the past after the passage of a long time. Fragmentation and fragility of memory render it almost impossible to be sure of the past without the existence of proof. Thus, personal history becomes open to interpretation as well.

The Final Chapter aims at highlighting the intratextual links which unite the 10 ½ chapters of A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters. It presents an answer to the debate surrounding the classification of this literary work as a novel. The focus of the first part of this chapter is the repeated motifs and themes which dominate the novel and unify it as a whole. The other part of this chapter is concerned with the intertexts used in both novels, whether literary or historical. Through the use of intertextuality, the past is seen in the light of the present.

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