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Title:William Gass's The Tunnel: The Work in Progress as Post-Modern Genre
Author(s):Unsworth, John
Subject(s):post-modernism
Gass, William
work in progress
The Tunnel
Abstract:In Le Postmoderne expliqué aux enfants, Jean-François Lyotard says that, like myths, the "metanarratives" of modernity -- the work-ethic, faith in technological progress, the Christian doctrine of salvation -- . . . have as a purpose the legitimation of social and political institutions and practices, of laws, of ethics, and of modes of thought. But in contrast to myths, they do not look to the act of an original founder for this legitimacy, but to a future yet to come -- in other words, to an Idea yet to be realized. (38, my translation) If, as Lyotard suggests, prolepsis is the characteristic mode of modern metanarrative, then in the realm of fictional narrative the work-in-progress might be regarded as a paradigmatic literary genre of modernity, since the published portions of a work in progress always imply a metanarrative -- that of the performance which has not yet taken place, the edifice which is still under construction.
Issue Date:1992
Citation Info:Arizona Quarterly 48.1, 63-85
Genre:Book Chapter
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://www3.isrl.uiuc.edu/~unsworth/arizona.quarterly.48.1.html
http://hdl.handle.net/2142/196
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-01-21


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