Philosophy and the Form of Fiction  

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"The term metafiction appears to have been coined in English by William H. Gass in his 1970 essay “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction” while the term metapainting appeared in English perhaps for the first time in the 1978 essay "Levels of Reality in Literature" by Italo Calvino." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Philosophy and the Form of Fiction" (1970) is an essay by William H. Gass in which he coined the term metafiction.

"The essay was originally written for a volume edited by Robert Scholes"[1] and then included later that same year in his own debut collection of critical essays, Fiction and the Figures of Life. "Gass uses the word only once, in a characterization of the work of Jorge Luis Borges, John Barth, and Flann O'Brien, “in which the forms of fiction serve as the material upon which further forms can be imposed” (Gass 1970: 25), deriving his neologism by analogy from terms fashionable in philosophy at the time, e.g., “metatheory,” “metalanguage,” “metaphilosophy.”" (Metafiction, 2012, R. M. Berry, The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature)[2].

He also notes that "many of the so-called antinovels are really metafictions."



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