Mountains and Streams Without End: Refractions of Fiction

Publication Year



English, literature, new fiction, nature, writing, literary criticism


Comparative Literature | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Modern Literature


Over the last several years a flurry of criticism has appeared on the so-called "new fiction". In an attempt to define the genre, a variety of new labels have been provided by conscientious critics, including Para-fiction, Metafiction, Superfiction, Surfiction, and Post-modern fiction. The problems that critics have naming new fiction are symptomatic of the trouble many of them are having criticizing it. Indeed, there are as many interpretations of what is happening in new fiction as there are names for it. These interpretations range from fairly conservative approaches to some which are radically different from anything else in the history of literature. The conflicts range over such basic issues as what new fiction is, what it is trying to do, and what technical elements are being used to accomplish its ends. Because of the wide variety of creative fiction writers working in what is still a loosely-defined genre, this essay will not attempt to suggest a new and sweeping method of literary criticism to encompass the new fiction, nor will it endeavor to apply to it the many kinds of criticism that have grown out of conventional literature. Instead, the essay will focus on two salient elements present in new fiction: the breaking down of distinctions between the real and the unreal and the lack of direction towards an epiphany. These two elements will help in understanding what new fiction is and how it works.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

This document is currently unavailable online.