1st Edition

Fact and Fiction in Contemporary Narratives

Edited By Jan Alber, Alice Bell Copyright 2021
    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the complex interrelationship between fact and fiction in narratives of the twenty-first century.

    Current cultural theory observes a cultural shift away from postmodernism to new forms of expression. Rather than a radical break from the postmodern, however, postmodernist techniques are repurposed to express a new sincerity, a purposeful self-reflexivity, a contemporary sense of togetherness and an associated commitment to reality. In what the editors consider to be one manifestation of this general tendency, this book explores the ways in which contemporary texts across different media play with the boundary between fact and fiction. This includes the examination of novels, autobiography, autofiction, film, television, mockumentary, digital fiction, advertising campaigns and media hoaxes. The chapters engage with theories of what comes after postmodernism and analyse the narratological, stylistic and/or semiotic devices on which such texts rely.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the European Journal of English Studies.

    Introduction – The importance of being earnest again: fact and fiction in contemporary narratives across media

    Jan Alber and Alice Bell

    1. The return of the ‘real’ in Ali Smith’s Artful (2012) and How to Be Both (2014)

    Yvonne Liebermann

    2. Realism for the post-truth era: politics and storytelling in recent fiction and autobiography by Salman Rushdie

    Julia Hoydis

    3. Reality beckons: metamodernist depthiness beyond panfictionality

    Alison Gibbons, Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker

    4. ‘Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening’: narrative, fictionality and reflexivity in humanitarian rhetoric

    Stefan Iversen

    5. Fictional characters in a real world: unruly fictionalised encounters in Borat, The Ambassador, and the Yes Men’s media hoaxes

    Louise Brix Jacobsen

    6. Changing dominants, changing features? The fiction/nonfiction distinction in contemporary literary and Instagram narratives

    Virginia Pignagnoli


    Jan Alber is Professor of English Literature and Cognition at RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

    Alice Bell is Professor of English Language and Literature at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.