This study represents a comparison between two radical gestures of literary self-reflexivity:
romantic irony and
postmodernist metafiction. It examines the impact of early German romantic theory and its central concept of irony on German and English romantic narrative fiction and relates the same to postmodernist self-reflexive novels, including its British and American variants. A primary objective of this comparison is to account for the radical skepticism that postmodernist metafiction voices with respect to the paramount philosophical question of truth and reality. The immanent tension between an absolute idealistic and a radically skeptic position which romantic irony articulates and enacts is conceived of as an important and instructive link to the understanding of postmodernism.
Frankfurt/M., Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2001. 182 pp.
Contents: Aesthetics of Self-Reflexivity – Theory of Literary Self-Referentiality and Self-Reflexivity – Self-Reflexivity
in Romanticism – From the Aesthetic Idea to Romantic Irony: theoretical aspects of early romantic theory – Romantic Irony
in Brentano’s Godwi and Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus – Self-Reflexivity in Postmodernism – From Romantic Irony
to Postmodernist Self-Reflexivity: theoretical aspects in Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Derrida – Postmodernist Metafiction in Gass’s
Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife and John Fowles’s Mantissa – Functions of Difference in Romantic Irony and Postmodernist