In this trenchant and lively study Brian McHale undertakes to construct a version of postmodernist fiction which encompasses forms as wide-ranging as North American metafiction, Latin American magic realism, the French New New Novel, concrete prose and science fiction. Considering a variety of theoretical approaches including those of Ingarden, Eco, Dolezel, Pavel, and Hrushovski, McHale shows that the common denominator is postmodernist fiction's ability to thrust its own ontological status into the foreground and to raise questions about the world (or worlds) in which we live. Exploiting various theoretical approaches to literary ontology - those of Ingarden, Eco, Dolezel, Pavel, Hrushovski and others - and ranging widely over contemporary world literature, McHale assembles a comprehensive repertoire of postmodernist fiction's strategies of world-making and -unmaking.

part Part One|40 pages


part Part Two|56 pages


chapter 3|16 pages

In The Zone

chapter 4|14 pages

Worlds in Collision

chapter 5|11 pages

A World Next Door

chapter 6|13 pages

Real, Compared to What?*

part Part Three|34 pages


chapter 7|13 pages

Worlds Under Erasure

chapter 8|19 pages

Chinese-Box Worlds

part Part Four|45 pages


chapter 9|15 pages

Tropological Worlds

chapter 10|14 pages

Styled Worlds

chapter 11|14 pages

Worlds of Discourse

part Part Five|39 pages


chapter 12|18 pages

Worlds on Paper

chapter 13|19 pages

Authors: Dead and Posthumous

part Part Six|19 pages

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Postmodernism

chapter 14|14 pages

Love and Death in the Postmodernist Novel

chapter Coda|3 pages

The Sense of Joyce's Endings