Theory of Reflexive Fiction

I keep on uploading my both old and new papers to the SSRN. This one was written c. 30 years ago, under duress—I had to get some tenure at the time. My life is a life-long examination…


Theory of Reflexive Fiction

Jose Angel Garcia Landa

Universidad de Zaragoza



This paper examines the development of reflexive theories of fiction, and of self-conscious fictional writing, under the Modernist and early Post-modernist aesthetic in the early and mid 20th century, as many sophisticated novelists and theorists turned away from the realist-mimetic aesthetic towards more formal concerns. The development of metafiction and reflexive narrative is associated to the higher formal consciousness associated to formalist approaches to art and literature, the New Criticism and Structuralism, so that self-conscious art might almost be termed “the structuralist aesthetic”.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Literature, Fiction, Metafiction, Writing, Novel, Self-consciousness,
Reflexivity, Formalism, New Criticism, Structuralism, Postmodernism,
Modernism, Aesthetics

working papers series


_____. “‘Theory of Reflexive Fiction.” Paper presented at the
University of Zaragoza, February 1992. Online edition (2004):

         2012 – DISCONTINUED
2020 – Online at the Internet Archive:



_____. “Theory of Reflexive Fiction.”
Social Science Research Network 25
June 2012.*


Theory & Criticism eJournal
25 June 2012.*



_____. “Theory of Reflexive Fiction.” 26 June 2012.*


_____. “Theory of Reflexive Fiction.” ResearchGate 14 Sept. 2013.*


_____. “Theory of Reflexive Fiction.” In
García Landa, Vanity Fea 24 June


Recent Trends in Narratological Research

José Angel García Landa. Review of Recent Trends in Narratological Research: Papers from the Narratology Round Table ESSE 4, September 1997, Debrecen, Hungary, and Other Contributions. Ed. John Pier. New online edition (2004):

2004 DISCONTINUED 2020 – Online at the Internet Archive:



Mieke Bal on Character, Dialectic, and Open-Minded Analysis

Mieke Bal summarizing the exposition of the nature of character as viewed by narratology:

Repetition, accumulation, relations to other characters, and transformations are four different principles that work together to construct the image of a character. Their effect can only be described, however, when the outline of the character has been roughly filled in. This is a constant element in narratological analysis: a dialectic back-and-forth between speculation and verification through open-minded analysis.

from Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, 4th edition, page 114.

The passage and its keyword “dialectic” popped out at me when I recalled José Angel García Landa’s remarks about the relation between noesis and poesis.

Understanding Narratives

Understanding narratives is understanding the world and understanding lives and history, since we structure and understand the world and lives and history through narratives.

Chaucer the Author, Chaucer the Narrator, and the Wife of Bath

Luttrell, Eric. “Chaucer (Part 1 of 3) Chaucer’s England.” Video. YouTube (Eric Luttrell) 22 April 2017.*


_____. “Chaucer (Part 2 of 3): The General Prologue.” Video. YouTube (Eric Luttrell) 22 April 2017.*


_____. “Chaucer (Part 3 of 3): The Wife of Bath.” Video. YouTube (Eric Luttrell) 23 April 2017.*


Le récit comme acte cognitif


Campion, Baptiste. (Institut des Hautes Études des Communications Sociales; U Catholique de Louvain). “Évaluer le récit comme acte cognitif: Quel cadre pour les approches expérimentales?” Cahiers de Narratologie 28 (2015 – “Le récit comme acte cognitif”): 1-12.*

Online at Academia..*


_____. Academia (Baptiste Campion).*