1st Edition

World-Games The Tradition of Anti-Realist Revolt

By Cristopher Nash Copyright 1987
    404 Pages
    by Routledge

    Contemporary readers face a literature that seems to ‘speak for’ them, yet they often struggle to say just how or why. Out of the deluge of works from such writers as Barth, Barthelme, Beckett, Borges, Brooke-Rose, Burroughs, Butor, Calvino, Cortázar, Federman, Fuentes, Le Guin, Márquez, McElroy, Nabokov, O’Brien, Pynchon, Robbe-Grillet, Sanguineti, Sarraute, Sollers, Sukenick, Tolkien, Vonnegut, new words and world-models that demand understanding fill the air. Yet they seem frequently beyond reach because the framework of ideas within which this often brilliant but seemingly bewilderingly disparate flood of discourses might make sense remains largely unexpressed.

    Beginning with the first concisely concerted assessment in English of the premisses and practice of Realism as viewed by those who feel that there is no choice but to move on, this book (first published in 1987) confronts the vocabulary and rhetoric of current radical theory with the actual procedures of post-war fiction. In a spirit of challenging experiment, it scrutinizes the themes, motifs, and strategies of contemporary narrative and reveals an unsuspected continuity of hitherto concealed premisses and dilemmas built into recent postmodern and poststructuralist thought. As provocative as the literature it regards, it proposes that anti-Realism is no longer merely a ‘movement’ – that it has become a massive and equally conventionalized and problematical tradition living alongside Realism throughout the Western world.

    Introduction:The Realist tradition  1. Shapes: Fiction-games people play  2. Ideas: Why play games?  3. Substance: Game pieces and moves  4. Shape versus substance: What are the stakes?  Conclusion: The anti-Realist tradition


    Cristopher Nash, BA English, UCLA. MA Romance Languages & Literature & PhD Comparative Literature, New York University. Phi Beta Kappa. Fulbright-Hays Fellow, France, 1965-67. Italian & English Studies (director), Graduate School of Comparative Literature (founder), University of Warwick, 1970-2007. World Postmodern Fiction; Unravelling of the Postmodern Mind; Narrative in Culture: Storytelling in the Sciences, Philosophy & LiteratureThe Dinosaurs Ball.   

    Reviews of the first publication:

    “Nash’s study is very comprehensive, organized thematically, and impresses you with its erudition on almost every page. He deals with the questions without requiring the reader to learn a whole new terminology with which to impress friends at cocktail parties or awe graduate students.”

    — J. Madison Davis, Pennsylvania State University—Behrend College

    “Cristopher Nash plays a fascinating chess game of words. His epigram from Nabokov appropriates the intellectual moves a Grand Master in the linguistic gamesmanship of a literary theorist...”

    Margaret Yong, University of Malaya