Fiction/Reality/Autofiction: The Existential Turn in Contemporary Literature
Inspired by Marcel Proust and W. G. Sebald, and working alongside Annie Ernaux, contemporary writers such as Karl Ove Knausgård, Rachel Cusk, Jenny Offill, and Teju Cole undermine traditional divides between fiction, memoir, and essay-writing, and challenge our understanding of what a novel is. Some critics have named this new trend 'autofiction.' Is that a good label? Does the new 'reality hunger' entail new ideas about subjectivity and identity? How does it relate to realism, and mosernism. What is 'existential' about it? We will read contemporary literature from different countries alongside theories of language and reality, realism, modernism, the novel, and reading.