When Fiction Lives in Fiction

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When Fiction Lives in Fiction is the title of a significant narrative essay written in 1939 by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. Weighing in at something less than three pages in length, Borges explores in his inimitable way the teleological nature of metadocuments in fiction such as, for example, False documents. Amongst the works examined in this essay are William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, with its play-within-a-play, Gustav Meyrink's novel The Golem with its motifs of dreams within dreams within dreams, and the nub of the essay itself, a short review of the then recently published At Swim-Two-Birds by Irish writer Flann O'Brien with its circular daisy chain of characters writing novels about each other.