METAFICTION AND DROSTE EFFECT IN THE NOVEL “IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER” BY ITALO CALVINO
Corresponding Author(s) : Nguyen Phuong Khanh
UED Journal of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education,
Vol. 10 No. Special (2020): UED JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES AND EDUCATION
If on a winter's night a traveler is considered one of the greatest novels by Italian writer Italo Calvino. Published in 1979, this literary work, which belongs to the postmodernist narrative style in the form of a frame story, tells about a reader trying to read a book with the same title from beginning to end. Much of the story’s content was written in the second-person’s narration, implying that “you” (the Reader) are the protagonist of the novel. Embedded inside are ten short stories (the loose ends of different novels) read by the main character, which causes the book to constantly switch between settings, narrators, and styles. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is truly a perfect illustration for the literary style characterized by metafiction and postmodernism. The novel is a conscious textual play with various techniques employed such as authorial role limitation, reader involvement in the plot line, open structure, non-linearity, fragmentation, multiplicity, and intertextuality. By effectively using these devices, Calvino deconstructs the traditional novel form and creates a new structure which shows a parallel between the processes of writing and reading a text. Calvino acts as the supreme game-master taking control of both the characters and the real players, who have been pushed into this game-like novel. This article focuses on analyzing the charactericstics of metafiction, the Droste effect and deconstruction in Calvino’s novel If on a winter's night a traveler, thereby helping to grasp his playful language and his narrative techniques as well as to discover his metafictional discourse.
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