Refusing to Disappear: The Postmodern Presence of the Author in the Text

Elizabeth N Mobley, Purdue University


Most often, authors of fiction appear only in one place—the front cover. But postmodern contemporary authors such as Paul Auster, Milan Kundera, Italo Calvino, and Kurt Vonnegut have crossed the boundary of the front cover, and they have entered their works. In appearing in their texts, these authors are doing something innovative—something worth examining. In City of Glass, Paul Auster positions himself as a character; Italo Calvino, in If on a winter’s night a traveler, includes a narrator who constantly reminds us that Calvino wrote the work; in Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera takes the reader along on his excursion of writing the text; in Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut appears in the text as the author—teasing his characters and asserting his authority over them. These texts are examples of a growing trend in postmodern fiction—a trend of authors breaking and entering into a world in which French philosopher, Michel Foucault believes they do not belong: the world of fiction.




Punday, Purdue University.

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