Between reality and simulation – dissolving generic boundaries in Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City (2009)

Patrycja Podgajna

Abstract


In their attempt to reflect the increasing sense of unreality and media-saturated culture, many contemporary writers show a particular penchant for blurring the boundaries between different generic territories. However, rather than employing typically postmodern subversive practices and metanarrative games in their appropriation of popular genres, post-postmodern writers tend to treat them with more appreciation and respectability, by recognising their potential in expanding new literary possibilities and reflecting the complexities of contemporary existence. Analyzing the overlapping between the mimetic and the fantastic elements inscribed in the urban representation of New York in Chronic City, the main aim of this paper is to demonstrate that Lethem’s incorporation of the supernatural into a seemingly realistic urban fiction serves not only to foreground ontological instability of the projected world, but also as a world-building practice designed to dissolve generic boundaries so as to subvert the role of genre in the meaning-making process.


Keywords


genre; post-postmodernism; mimetic vs. supernatural elements; space

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/lsmll.2018.42.2.35-45
Data publikacji: 2018-07-11 11:33:32
Data złożenia artykułu: 2018-02-28 09:53:22

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