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Playing the Reader

The Homoerotics of Self-Reflexive Fiction


Michael Hardin

Metafictional texts frequently construct both their narrators and readers as male. The relationship between the narrator and reader within the novel is often dismissed, but in many cases it is the most intimate relationship in the novel. Drawing from such disparate frameworks as queer theory, reader theory, and game theory, this work argues that within specific metafictional novels, a strong homoerotic metanarrative exists despite the heterosexual relationships at the narrative level. The texts that this work addresses are Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch, Milorad Pavic’s Dictionary of the Khazars and Landscape Painted with Tea, and Carlos Fuentes’ Christopher Unborn.