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Chaucer's Pardoner and the Rhetoric of Metafiction and Metalepsis

Wednesday 5 June 2019, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Richard Walsh (University of York)

Metafiction is generally regarded as a representationally disruptive phenomenon, but the move to a metadiscourse is simply a shift of level, comparable to other commonplace recursive features of language, narrative and fiction. I propose to integrate metafictionality into a broader conception of reflexiveness as the fundamental principle of the development of narrative as a mode of representation, and the literary elaboration of fictionality as a rhetorical resource. I argue that there is an antithetical relation between metafiction and metalepsis, and illustrate these ideas by showing how Chaucer is centrally concerned with negotiating between their reciprocal logics through the figure of the Pardoner, his prologue and his tale.

An Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies seminar in the Historicising Fictionality series.

“Historicising Fictionality” is a strand of the 2019 ICNS programme, and concerns fiction as an evolving communicative and rhetorical resource, with a traceable cultural history and a principle of development located in the recursively reflexive logic of narrative discourse.

Location: Seminar Room BS/007, Berrick Saul Building, University of York Heslington West Campus