Historiographic metafiction is a term originally coined by literary theorist Linda Hutcheon.
According to Hutcheon, in "A Poetics of Postmodernism", works of historiographic metafiction are "those well-known and popular novels which are both intensely self-reflexive and yet paradoxically also lay claim to historical events and personages". Historiographic metafiction is a quintessentially postmodern art form, with a reliance upon textual play, parody and historical re-conceptualization.
One author often associated with historiographic metafiction is Michael Ondaatje, in works such as Running in the Family, In the Skin of a Lion, The English Patient and Coming Through Slaughter. Salman Rushdie's novels Shame and Midnight's Children can also be regarded as historiographic metafiction in their re-writing of the history of Pakistan and India in the early- and mid-twentieth century.
An example of historiographic metafiction is Daphne Marlatt's novel Ana Historic. It is the process of re-writing history through a work of fiction in a way that has not been previously recorded. In Marlatt's novel, this is achieved through journal entries of a fictional character who represents a form of reality for women both in the past and in the present. Often, historiographic metafiction refers to the loss of the feminine voice in history. Erin Mouré's poetry broaches this subject.
Authors associated with historiographic metafiction
- Hutcheon 5.
- Definition of Metafiction at Emory.edu
- "Historiographic Metafiction: 'The Pastime of Past time'" from Fu Jen Catholic University
- Hutcheon, Linda: Historiographic Metafiction. Parody and the Intertextuality of History
- Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York: 1988.
- Kotte, Christina: Ethical Dimensions in British Historiographic Metafiction: Julian Barnes, Graham Swift, Penelope Lively. Trier: 2002, (Studies in English Literary and Cultural History, 2), ISBN 3-88476-486-1.