from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Fiction that deals, often playfully and self-referentially, with the writing of fiction or its conventions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a form of self-referential literature concerned with the art and devices of fiction itself


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Postmodern game playing and the juxtaposing of the supposedly real with the imaginary, are marked aspects of Auster's style; and there are those critics who dismiss him for what is usually termed metafiction, that is, fiction engaged in a dialogue with itself, a story which calls attention to the telling of the story.

    California Literary Review

  • And as we are brought back out to the stranger and the listener, the I and the You, that sneaky genre twist on metafiction is still at work.

    Tim Pratt's "The Frozen One"

  • Yeah, metafiction is fiction about fiction, and it can pop up in all kinds of ways, from parodies like The Stinky Cheese Man, to books in which the author is a character (Chris Crutcher's The Sledding Hill) to books in which a character KNOWS he or she is a character.

    Life in the Old Girl Yet

  • Now we always hear the term, when we're talking about literary fiction, metafiction, which is basically fiction about fiction.

    Carry-On Books To Take You Up, Up And Away

  • The fact that he brought a real person (not a "real" person, George, come on!) goes to show that he cannot comprehend the complexities of metafiction, which is exactly what Bush's stunt with Bridges attempted to pull off.

    Scott Thill: Truthiness and Consequences

  • With his experimental "metafiction" - spoofing literary conventions, leaving sentences dangling, writing an entire novel ( "Gold Fools") in the form of questions - he seemed to place himself squarely in the postmodernist camp; but his ear for American, especially New York, speech, and his attention to the spirit of place and compassion for the average loser, all defined him as a kindred spirit of such great American humorists as Mark Twain and Peter De Vries.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Raymond Federman was generally associated with those American writers who in the 1960s and 70s began writing what is now called "metafiction," but there was always something about Federman's work that seemed different, its self-reflexivity even more radical and enacted in a more aggressive way.

    January 2010

  • In a comment on my recent post about "metafiction," Nick Kerkhoff (whose relatively new blog can be found here) wonders about the precise relationship between metafiction and postmodernism:


  • Federman rejected both "metafiction" and "experimental fiction" more broadly as labelsaccurately describing his work, instead coining the term "surfiction" to sum up what he -- as well as other innovative writers, such as Ronald Sukenick -- was after.

    Experimental Fiction

  • Scholes's book popularized the term "metafiction" as a more specific term describing the tendencies in postwar American fiction that made readers think of them as "experimental": "Metafiction ... attempts to assault or transcend the laws of fiction -- an undertaking which can only be achieved from within fictional form."

    Experimental Fiction


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