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    • CommentAuthorHielClint
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2013
     (11054.1)
    I was doing some research for my Lit Theory class when I stumbled upon a discussion that had been disbanded recently. The question at hand was what is the opposite of metafiction. As it is related to my research I would like to revive the conversation by proffering an answer that was not given. I believe the opposite of metafiction, or at least its counterpoint in a system of binomial pairs, would be a grand narrative. Grand narratives being works; such as, certain religious text, histories, philosophy, and the likes. These texts unlike metafiction, which is self-reflexive and analytic of itself as fiction in relationship to the reader, proclaim absolute and universal truth in the reader's world.
    • CommentAuthorScrymgeour
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2013
     (11054.2)
    @HielClint. Just to make you aware, grand narratives are very unfashionable in historical academia (maybe not pop-hist), particularly in archaeology with the rise of both processualism and post-processualism.
    However. Processual texts often do attempt to portray only absolut truth, eg."there was a fire in this layer no earlier than X BCE"
    Importantly, sequences of events have lost their importance, and thematic links have become more important, due in part to an interdisciplinary approach.

    I think that the grand narrative still puts focus on the literary nature of a work, and invites literary criticism (like the bible / the odyssey etc) so is still a metafiction. Perhaps non-narrative thematic non-fiction would be the opposite of metafiction?
    Interesting job for a logician
  1.  (11054.3)
    Yes, there has been a move away from grand narratives, and the models that accompany them. I would argue that all archaeology proceeds from the description of the site, normally represented by the site matrix.

    Normally after that point is where the approaches diversify. With the rise of embodiment theory (coming from other disciplines like Human Geography (Elizabeth Teather Embodied Geographies) and cognitive science (Lakoff and Johnson Philosophy In The Flesh) has moved the focus to the embodied experience of past landscapes. This has partly been a reaction to the prioritising of the gaze in Phenomenology (Particularly Phenomenology Of The Landscape by Chris Tilley). The lived, inhabited experience has made a huge impact on the discipline. Also the concept of regionality has helped move the discussion away from Grand Narratives (eg the patterns found in the Iron Age of Wessex cannot be extrapolated out across the country to understand Iron Age in, for example, South Yorkshire).
  2.  (11054.4)
    I'm coming at this with a little more 'storyteller' than 'theorist' but I think the concept of the dichotomy is fascinating. If you posit a spectrum, with absolute metafiction on one end and absolute grand narrative on the other, all of the sudden I start looking at prominent works in new ways.

    I'm re-reading an fantasy novel right now, and it hews much closer to 'grand narrative,' partially in the sense that it's blithely retreading so many tropes without an ounce of shame. But part of it's appeal (and the appeal of similar books) is it's grandness, it's attempt to impose a sense of importance. In that way, much like religious texts and histories.

    On the other side is Borges, where the concept of it being a story is very much at the core of the experience.

    It would be difficult to find any particular work that can be considered solely metafiction or grand narrative, without having elements of the other, but looking at it as a spectrum helps me consider the audience for a work and my own critical issues or appreciations with the work. (I tend to enjoy work that has self-reflexivity, but I recognize that this isn't a global appreciation.)

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