Friday, February 16, 2007

Reader trap

Should have been listening harder to In Our Time because it was dealing with Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The old story: having a basic handle on it, the words of the experts slid through my brain unobtrusively, the occasional word or phrase popping up above the surface. One of these was 'reader trap'.

Immediate reaction: sounds self-explanatory; and maybe quite a useful thing to think through for the novice writer. Checking, just in case it meant something quite different, came across this Google Booksearch sample of one of the contributors the BBC programme, Robert Hanson. Though it was another of the three experts, Susan Jones, who used the term.

She also said Heart of Darkeness was almost a metafiction. Immediate reaction? What fiction is considered metafiction to give an idea of what she means by almost. Wiki:metafiction has a lists 'common metafictive devices' with examples. Where'sThe French Lieutentant's Woman?. But the bit of Robert Hanson's introduction available is instructive, particularly page xxix.

Reading on, there are a few pages under the title VI. An image of Africa, introducing Chinua Achebe's critique of Conrad. Again, for someone as ignorant as I am - but keen to learn - very useful.


Have I been caught by reading about reader trap into spending more time than intended on metafiction?

Wiki:List of metafictional texts

The Reading Experience: metafiction (a August 23 2004)

The Literary Encyclopedia: metafiction

Kate Liu has draw up a little table under the heading: General issues and signs of metafiction


And then to metafilm (because film precoccupies me right now...)

Under It's a commentary! It's a film! It's a metafilm! Tuwa at MetaFilter asks for examples. Boy do they this....there is a documentary called Derrida (2002) in which:

him [Derrida] and his wife watching video that they've shot (and which the audience has already seen) to get his reaction to the film within the context of the film.

Finally: noticed there was a metafilm table here too. Saw mention of Icicle Thief. Overweaning desire to write email correcting spelling. Later learn there is a film of this name: Ladri di saponette (1989, Maurizio Nichetti). A review by Damian Sutton is great fun.


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