>Metamodernism, or Post Postmodernism Redefined


I was talking to Anthony last week about my shitty novel, and I described my attempt to make it fit into metamodernism, with the oscillation between first, second and third persons. “This will show,” I said, “that the narrator is able to pass judgment upon himself, and encourage the reader to do so simultaneously.”

Anthony looked at me blankly. He suggested that one of the characters be allowed to pass judgment on the narrator. That’s metamodernism. So I found a scrap of paper and noted this point before it escaped my memory. But how to make it happen, I wondered.

Last year I realized that what would make my work stand out from others is the character’s ability to talk to himself through time. That is, his younger self can address his older self, and vice versa. Dave Eggers does this, kinda, in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. He uses a Real World interview that is ultimately conducted by himself, to address unconscious questions that plague himself and the reader. But this is the only part of the novel in which it happens.

Gabriel’s older writing self will be the prophet of his younger, passionate self. The younger self will be able to pass judgment on his older self, and vice versa, making the heart of the novel a self vs. self conflict. That is metamodernism.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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