Metamodernism: Modernist Elements in Contemporary British and Irish Fiction

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This thesis aims at exploring in what way three contemporary novels, C by Tom McCarthy (2010), A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (2013), and How to Be Both by Ali Smith (2014), can be seen as “Metamodernist”. The theoretical framework that will be applied to this thesis is that of literary modernism and Metamodernism, which is a recently emerged concept used to describe what is currently happening in the British literary field. This research is guided by the following question: How does modernism manifest itself in Tom McCarthy’s C, Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, and Ali Smith's How to Be Both, and what does this say about the novels’ relation to Metamodernism? This question will be answered by charting which modernist narrative techniques and modernist themes are used in the novels through textual analysis, as well as connecting these to David James and Urmila Seshagiri’s definition of Metamodernism. This thesis argues that the three novels return to modernism in different ways, but that they can all be related to Metamodernism. Literary modernism can thus be seen as a cultural archive that is used by contemporary novelists as a source of inspiration.
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