Fictional self-consciousness in Robert Coover's Pricksongs and Descants

Ricardo Miguel Alfonso

Abstract

This essay reads Robert Coover's novel Pricksongs and Descants as an instance of the interchange between mimetic representation and literary self-reflexivity characteristic of postmodern novelists such as Vladimir Nabokov or John Barth. It analyses some of the short stories collected in this volume as examples of Coover's ongoing concern with the interchange between (1) our perception of the real, (2) the systems of thought by means of which we account for the flux of reality, and (3) the epistemological nature and function of literature as a vehicle for modern self-understanding. The result is not only a (literary) experiment in which the structures of the traditional, linear novel are relentlessly questioned, but also an inquiry into the possibility of tracing a clear-cut distinction between fiction and reality and, subsequently, between art and life.

Keywords

Coover, Robert; Pricksongs and Descants; Literatura norteamericana; Relato corto; Autopercepción; Mímesis; Posmodernismo



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.1995.8.12

Copyright (c) 1995 Ricardo Miguel Alfonso

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