Expansion, Interruption, Autoethnography: Toward Disorienting Fiction, Part 2
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The thesis of my 2005 book Disorienting Fiction: The Autoethnographic Work of Nineteenth-Century British Novels is gestured at by the three words of this essay's main title: nineteenth-century Britain's imperial expansion is the ultimate context in which to make sense of the nineteenth-century novel's apparent commitment to an autoethnographic enterprise aimed at writing into existence a delimited and distinctive culture for the English or even the British people at a time when there was every encouragement for them to regard their way of life as exhausted in identification with a globally exportable “Civilization” or capital-C “Culture” itself. That delimiting impulse found expression in what I call the “self-interrupting” features prominent in Romantic-era and Victorian narrative. This essay considers the challenges facing a planned sequel to Disorienting Fiction that would extend that thesis from the later nineteenth century into the heyday of modernism.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Humanities. Literature Section
Novel: a Forum on Fiction
Duke University Press
Buzard, J. “Expansion, Interruption, Autoethnography: Toward Disorienting Fiction, Part 2.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 42.2 (2009): 261–267.
Author's final manuscript