John Barth Long Fiction Analysis - Essay

John Barth Long Fiction Analysis

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

The literary historian and the literary technician meet in the novels and attitudes of John Barth. Barth’s eagerness to affirm the artificiality of the art he creates enables him to strip-mine the whole range of narrative that precedes his career for usable personalities and devices; similarly, by beginning with the premise of literature as a self-evident sham, he greatly enlarges the field of possibility within his own fictions, so that outrageous plot contrivances, protean characters (or characters who are essentially banners emblazoned with ruling philosophies), and verbal acrobatics all become acceptable. Barth’s general solution for handling the fracture between art and reality is not to heal it but rather to heighten his...

(The entire section is 6649 words.)