The anti-epistemological impulses within O'Brien, Borges, and Gray's metafictional narratives
Balete, Candice Lauren Garcia
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This thesis examines the various metafictional narrative devices in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, Jorge Luis Borges’ “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” and “The Library of Babel,” and Alasdair Gray’s Lanark. Through a close examination of the texts’ self-conscious references towards their own fictionality—at the sentence level and also at a broader, metaleptic level—I argue that these fictions have the capacity to anti-epistemologically gesture towards the futility of comprehensively attaining and archiving knowledge in its totality, revealing the hubris potentially inherent within such endeavours. Rather than bemoan their inability to comprehensively articulate any body of knowledge or discourse, these metafictions revel in their acknowledgement of their limitations as textual constructs—even if man cannot fully comprehend the infinite, fiction can at least function as a frame through which one could glimpse at its horizons.
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