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Fiction on Fiction - Metafictions and Reflexive Representation: Philosophy, Film, Art, Literature

Call for papers : Submissions on any aspect of metafiction are invited from graduate students

11 January 2011 - 6:33pm

Friday, 15 April 2011 to Saturday, 16 April 2011

Location: CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge

On-line Registration will open in January 2011.

The deadline for submissions is February 11th 2011.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

- How to accommodate metafictions within an account of truth in fiction
- Audience engagement with metafictional representations
- Metafictional narrative techniques
- Metafiction in literature, film or the visual arts
- Whether metafictions place constraints on the ontology of fiction and the nature of fictional objects
Papers should be no more than 2000 words long (to last around 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of discussion), and should be accompanied by a short abstract (around 200 words). Please send submissions to Emily Caddick, preferably by email to:

Alternatively, submissions can be posted to: Emily Caddick, Newnham College, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DF.


The conference focuses on metafiction, taken to cover any fiction which represents itself as a fiction. Because metafictions acknowledge their own status as fictions, they are sometimes known as ‘reflexive’ or ‘self-conscious’ fictions, and sometimes generate apparently paradoxical results. The conference will explore what this reflexivity amounts to, how it distinguishes the metafictional from the non-metafictional works, and what impact this has on questions about the nature of fiction in general.

Metafiction amounts to a significant – but not uncommon – distortion of the standard relationship between a fiction and what it represents. This two-day interdisciplinary conference will explore how metafictional representation works by bringing together research on the nature of fiction within philosophy and research on metafiction in literary criticism, film studies and art theory.

Questions to Explore

Understanding how metafiction works is important to understanding how fiction works. For it raises interesting questions about what fictional representation is, what distinguishes it from non-fictional representation, how fictions represent, how we engage with fiction, and what relations the representation bears to its contents. How should we accommodate metafictions within an account of truth in fiction? Are there any peculiarities of audience engagement with metafictions – do our emotional reactions to a scenario change if we are told by the work that it is ‘just fictional’? What are the different metafictional narrative techniques, and do they all have the same impact on the content of the fiction? What constraints, if any, do metafictions place on the ontology of fiction and the nature of fictional objects?

The conference will include seven invited papers, as well as four slots of half an hour each for submitted papers from graduate students (see call for papers above).