Archetypical Metafiction: Scrutinizing Fallen Archetypes
How often are we bombarded with archetypal images, whether they appear on TV, in film, or in print? "Chipotle," the Latin Lover selling Tabasco? The virgin/whore display of a Britney Spears video? Magical negro Bagger Vance, dragon lady O-Ren Ishii (who gets scalped by a blonde woman), and the numerous slack-jawed rednecks, Real American Heroes™, jungle bunnies, flaming queens and their fag hags, mammies, tree-huggin' hippies, and scowly feminists who'll find all the liberation they need as soon as they get laid? These images, these models, and the social constructions associated with them are so prevalent, bombard us so consistently, that many times we don't even recognize them. They've moved beyond stereotypes-they're archetypes. Within American dominant culture, they have become "normal" in their appearances.
Over the last decade, there appears to be a new form of metafiction developing. It differs from the historiographic metafiction, which "offers a sense of presence of the past, but a past that can be known only from its texts, its traces-be they literary or historical," contextualizing literatures that have come before them and rewriting histories in order to make sense of them. Several metafictions of the late 20th and early 21st centuries seem less concerned with commenting on and scrutinizing the forms of physical texts. While they may be historiographic in nature, these metafictions aren't necessarily trying to break down the wall between writer and reader, reader and text--nor is their focus making sense of history. Instead, their aim is to analyze, criticize, and sometimes even skewer our cultural constructs, myths, and expectations through flawed characters. Sometimes, their metafictional commentary echoes the Platonic/Plotinian theories of a higher, perfect form and the corrupted copies/variations of the form. So I call them archetypical, a degradation of archetype and archetypal because the archetypal figures and cultural expectations the authors use in their texts are potentially destructive.
Archetypical metafiction, then, aims to scrutinize the following: 1) how we perpetuate problematic archetypal ideals in our media, including literary forms, 2) how our cultural expectations and imperfect ideals create impossible and confining roles for individuals, and 3) how dominant and minority communities/cultures accept and encourage these restrictive roles. While their metafictional methods are different, both Percival Everett's Erasure and Michael Cunningham's The Hours examine these three questions.
The young buck's actually bougie: what's really black, yo?
If I'm to believe the images and narratives told about black people in the dominant culture, then the majority of us got a down-home, come-from-nuthin story, we're all living lower class, men don't take care of their babies or their women, and we can run really, really, really fast. Any black person who has personal experiences that contradict the above just ain't black.
I may be a bit flippant in my examples, but Percival Everett's Erasure attacks the questions surrounding black identity and "acceptable" black art with an aggressive satire (and I hesitate to use the word "aggressive" in relation to a black man). Erasure is Thelonious "Monk" Ellison's story. Monk, a black man who grew up middle class, is a professor and novelist of experimental and critically panned failures. His being labeled as a black man (Monk doesn't believe in race) in America and the way he perceives his own reality has always left him in a conundrum:
While in college I was a member of the Black Panther Party, defunct as it was, mainly because I felt I had to prove I was black enough. Some people
in the society in which I live, described as being black, tell me I am not black enough. Some people who the society calls white tell me the same thing.
Monk goes on to relate a comment from a book review:
The novel is finely crafted, with full developed characters, rich language and subtle play with the plot, but one is lost to understand what this reworking of Aeschylus' The Persians has to do with the African American experience.
In a society with rigidly defined racial identities and narratives, a black man who graduates summa cum laude from Harvard, can't dance, has doctors in his family, and writes novels that have nothing to do with the "African American experience" (whatever it may be), is not "black enough." Erasure's opening pages challenge the idea of what "black" is. Monk's physical appearance is black. Anyone who sees him walking down the street would label him as black. However, if he opens his mouth and someone hears him utter his catchphrase "Egads," if someone learns of Monk's history or reads one of Monk's books, does he suddenly stop being black?
Monk is angered and befuddled when middle-class Juanita Mae Jenkins writes of urban lower-class experiences she's never had in the critically acclaimed bestseller We's Lives in Da Ghetto. After a series of traumatic events within his family, reflection upon his career as both an educator and writer, and growing disillusionment with the rejection of his identity, Monk responds by writing the novella My Pafology in one sitting. The novel's research consists of Monk's recollections of Native Son, Amos and Andy, and Black English he's heard spoken on the street.
Van Go Jenkins is My Pafology's teenaged protagonist. A parody of Richard Wright's Bigger Thomas, Jenkins embodies every negative stereotype of black men: he's uneducated and a dropout, addicted to sex, a negligent father, violent for the sake of violence, and full of rage. What Monk is trying to achieve with this narrative is not in doubt-create the most offensive, vile, and perverse depiction of "the black experience," more vile than what he perceives in We's Lives in Da Ghetto.
After a senseless fight, Jenkins returns home and dreams:
. . . I'm sleepin and it be on an island somewhere in them islands down there. There be all these beautiful, fine-ass bitches walking around wearin nuffin but strings over they nipples and shit. . . . I start countin the babies I'm gone make and I start thinkin up names for them babies . . . Avaricia, Baniqua, Clitoria, Dashone, Equisha, Fantasy, Galinique, Hobitcha, I'youme, Jamika, Klauss, Latishanique, Mystery, Niggerina, Oprah, Pasticha, Quiquisha, R'nee'nee, Suckina, Titfunny, Uniqua, Vaselino, Wuzziness, Yolandinique and Zookie.
The eye dialect, subtle and not-so-subtle jokes within the numerous ghetto names, and dream life of a thug who sees so many women as sex toys aren't meant to provide any revelations into the problematic lives of black youth or give a glimpse into what "black people struggle with every day." Van Go Jenkins is a caricature. His story is an anti-glorification of the naturalistic streak in certain works of black literature and art. Everett gives us nothing to sympathize with in Jenkins's circumstance. However, as soon as Monk decides to send the manuscript to his agent under the pen name "Stagg R. Leigh," the reader is aware of what's to come: My Pafology will indeed be published, and it shall be a critically acclaimed bestseller. In fact, it is so perfect as a representation of the "African American experience," that the editor publishes it as it is, minus the title change, Fuck, which Monk demands, or else, and wrongly assumes will get the book dropped by the publisher.
For the first time in his writing career, Monk, under the identity of mysterious ex-con Leigh, is praised. A New York Times review declares:
The characters are so well drawn that often one forgets that Fuck is a novel. It is more like the evening news. The ghetto comes to life in these pages and for this glimpse of hood existence we owe the author a tremendous debt. The writing is dazzling, the dialogue as true as dialogue gets and it is simply honest. Fuck is a must read for every sensitive person who has ever seen these people on the street and asked, "What's up with him?"
Two major questions Everett posits are these: does the dominant culture really view these ghetto-fabulous portrayals as representative of the authentic black experience, and what is wrong with black artists that they willfully bolster and encourage these destructive archetypes of blacks, especially when some of these artists have never experienced anything close to the circumstances they're substantiating?
The first question is rather easy to answer: yes. I am certainly not suggesting all individuals within the dominant culture perceive blacks this way. But the narratives of black life promoted by the dominant culture in various media suggest otherwise. While it's no longer acceptable to include coons, mammies, pickaninnies, and Uncle Toms in cartoons, TV shows, films, and advertisements (Aunt Jemima took that rag off her head and got her hair did), these archetypes are still prevalent within the dominant culture's media. What was once acceptable and recognizable is still acceptable, although its representations may be more subtle.
But while commercial publishers, film distributors, and networks continue to support financially those projects that affirm the dominant culture's ideals of "real blackness," and although the dominant culture fails to see the problem in doing so, the more interesting question is why black artists choose to depict black life with such restrictive themes, storylines, and types. Monk provides an easy answer. Even though he's disgusted and frustrated that My Pafology is adored as a literary masterpiece, he's quite happy to keep his lucrative advance. These narratives do make money. If a black artist wants to be successful, whether she's lived that experience or not, whether she's interested in writing about it or not, she has a better chance of making money and receiving attention from commercial venues if her art fits into the cultural "norm."
However, the other reason (for me at least) is more frustrating. The black community has decided that certain individuals just aren't "black enough." They aren't authentically black. Like Monk, they're too middle-class, too educated, too fluent in Standard English. Monk is, in effect, too white. Such a narrow-minded view of what can and can't be black marginalizes and discourages narratives that contradict those that are "black enough." The black-owned and operated film distribution company KJM3 states in its press-kit brochure that it "[doesn't] expect to cater to the Black middle class" because the films it markets are "authentically Black." Either the representatives of KJM3 enjoy irony, or they're not "authentically Black." The brochure also contains a photo of the vice presidents-wearing fine business suits.
This question of how black life should be portrayed in black art isn't new. Richard Wright lambasted Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God for catering to white audiences: ". . . her novel carries no theme, no message, no thought. In the main, her novel is not addressed to the Negro, but to a white audience whose chauvinistic tastes she knows how to satisfy. She exploits that phase of Negro life which is 'quaint,' the phase which evokes a piteous smile on the lips of the 'superior' race." Wright supported a naturalistic, brutal portrayal of black life, which was readily accepted in the literary mainstream because of the naturalist movement at the time.
While blacks themselves have determined what is and is not "black," Percival Everett places the reader into the life of Thelonious "Monk" Ellison, a black man who certainly doesn't fit the dominant culture's or black culture's definitions of what is "black." He is by no means unflawed, is a little full of himself, and he certainly creates his own predicament when he publishes My Pafology. However, through the eyes of this black man who's not really black, Everett is able to critique the rigid roles blacks force upon each other. This includes detrimental concepts substantiated by prominent figures like Wright. Erasure is able to ask black artists an important "chicken or egg" question: if black artists authenticate certain black archetypes and narratives within the dominant culture, how will the dominant culture's ideas and attitudes about black people be challenged? And more importantly, how will blacks value individuals within their own communities that don't fit the labels, and is it true that blacks see their own culture and communities as stagnant and depraved?
The Archetypal World of Cunningham's The Hours
The Hours can be labeled a historiographic metafiction, but it is also an extreme example of archetypical metafiction, challenging the dominant culture's archetypal ideas and establishing a world with Virginia Woolf as its archetypal figure. Echoes of both Plotinus and Borges (influenced by Plotinus) are in The Hours, and while it's obvious that Woolf's life and Mrs. Dalloway are the novel's main inspirations, Borges's imprint on the narrative can't be underestimated, especially since Cunningham takes an epigraph from Borges's poem, "The Other Tiger":
We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like the others this one too will be a form of what I dream, a structure of words, and not the flesh and bone tiger that beyond all myths paces the earth. . . . some force keeps driving me in this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest, and I go on pursuing through the hours another tiger, the beast not found in verse.
Borges describes a literary search, one where the answers can't be found in the literature itself, but he'll continue to write because it is his writing and what he creates that will conjure up the meaning behind the third tiger, "the beast not found in verse." In the quotation taken from Woolf, a similar sentiment is expressed. Cunningham juxtaposes these two epigraphs on the same page:
I should say a good deal about The Hours, & my discovery; how I dig out beautiful caves behind my characters; I think that gives exactly what I want; humanity, humour, depth. The idea is that the caves shall connect, & each comes to daylight at the present moment.
Earlier in Borges's poem he writes: "In my soul the afternoon grows wider and I reflect / That the tiger invoked in my verse / Is a ghost of a tiger, a symbol, / A series of literary tropes." "Caves" in the passage from Woolf's diary and Borges's tiger are one in the same-shadows or tropes that are interconnecting. One cave or one tiger cannot exist without the others. The same is true in The Hours. The narrative follows three tigers, Virginia, Laura Brown, and Richard, and the caves of experience connecting Laura to Richard have their beginnings in the life of Virginia Woolf. The tropes and motifs based on the life of Virginia Woolf and the Virginia Woolf character that Cunningham fashions repeat themselves in the worlds of Laura and Richard.
The idea of using Woolf as an archetype has its foundation in another work by Jorge Luis Borges, "The Circular Ruins." In this story, an unnamed man, a wizard, is on a quest for knowledge: "[The narrator] is clearly a man trying to get into his own stories . . . to discover himself rather than an image." The wizard has a series of dreams that shows him deeper realities and different, ancient versions of the world he lives in. The closer the wizard comes to the truth, the more he realizes that he is an image, an illusion, reflected from the Intellectual-Principle. He is merely a form originating from the One. Virginia Woolf's, Laura Brown's, and Richard's worlds are also circular in terms of their appearance in the novel. There seems to be no exacting logic for whose narration follows whom; it doesn't matter, because they are all connected caves.
In the first "Mrs. Woolf" narrative, Virginia has an experience similar to that of the wizard:
Virginia lies quietly in her bed, and sleep takes her again so quickly she is not conscious of falling back to sleep at all. It seems, suddenly, that she is not in her bed but in a park; a park impossibly verdant, green beyond green-a Platonic vision of a park . . . [Virginia] is beginning to understand that another park lies beneath this one, a park of the underworld, more marvelous and terrible than this; it is the root from which these lawns and arbors grow.
Just as Borges manipulates the wizard in "The Circular Ruins," Cunningham has Virginia Woolf the character play a similar role. In the above passage where Woolf dreams of a "Platonic vision of a park," Cunningham establishes an archetypal world within the novel. In Jung's psychoanalytic theory, all archetypes are housed in the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is submerged deep within the memories of all humanity, and many cultures have legends and myths with similar motifs because their origins are the archetypes found in the collective unconscious. The perfect park in Woolf's dream would be the Intellectual-Principle where perfect forms are reflected in Plotinus's cosmology. The "park [that] lies beneath this one, a park of the underworld . . . from which these lawns and arbors grow" is the One, the collective unconscious, where all forms are housed. The park Woolf dreams is a shadow-a ghost of a tiger-of that "park of the underworld."
In subsequent pages, as Woolf prepares herself for the day, Cunningham establishes her as the archetype on which all the other characters will be based. The mirror is an important motif in Borgesian texts, and it often confronts protagonists with physical worlds beyond their own. Woolf has a frightening experience when she looks in the mirror: "The mirror is dangerous; it sometimes shows her the dark manifestation of air that matches her body, takes her form, but stands behind, watching her, with porcine eyes, and wet, hushed breathing." This passage says to me that Woolf is literally being read. The image in the mirror has the form of her body, but it watches her. This goes beyond observing herself in the mirror-if she were only observing herself in the mirror, she wouldn't feel so threatened. I find it rather intriguing that "Mrs. Brown" follows this particular Woolf chapter. In the "Mrs. Brown" sections, Laura Brown is reading Mrs. Dalloway. She is reading Virginia Woolf and trying to understand how a woman like Virginia who seemed to have everything could have been so unhappy. I'd like to suggest that, although they represent different eras, "Mrs. Dalloway" (where Richard's story is found), "Mrs. Woolf," and "Mrs. Brown" are beyond time and space because they are interconnecting caves "& each comes to daylight at the present moment." They are all connected to that same ancient underworld and are merely variations of each other. The time periods in which the narratives take place only emphasize how similar the characters of Virginia, Laura, and Richard are.
Since Laura and Richard are shadows of Virginia (the archetype), their narratives reveal how they are connected to Woolf. If Woolf is the One where the archetype originates, then Laura Brown is the Intellectual-Principle, a reflection of Woolf, as Cunningham indicates with Woolf feeling she is being watched in the mirror. The literal connection between Laura and Virginia is the fact that Laura reads Mrs. Dalloway throughout her narrative, and this leads her to question Woolf's suicide. But as she progresses through her day, her actions and thoughts resemble those of Woolf in the "Mrs. Woolf" sections. Although Laura is married to a man who has the perfect job, lives in the suburbs, and has a son, Cunningham hints early on that she is unhappy. It's her husband's birthday, and she obsesses over making Dan a cake, not because she loves him, but because as a wife, it's her duty. She's not happy with her cake and feels like a failure. The relationship between Virginia and Leonard Woolf is equally fuzzy; Leonard serves as Virginia's editor, and she's never quite happy with what she produces, although Leonard tries to assure her that it's good. But they don't have the loving relationship of a husband and wife in the novel; Cunningham suggests that Leonard acts more as a guardian as Dan behaves with Laura.
Both women are frustrated by their bisexuality. Kitty, a friend of Laura's, stops to visit, and in an intimate moment, she reveals that she may have uterine cancer. Laura, attracted to Kitty's vulnerability, kisses her. Both are horrified by the act because it's forbidden, and Laura is to blame: "Laura is the dark-eyed predator. Laura is the odd one, the foreigner, the one who can't be trusted. Laura and Kitty agree, silently, that this is true." In a later "Mrs. Brown" section, Laura reflects upon the kiss. The two caves connecting between "Mrs. Brown" and "Mrs. Woolf" again, Virginia shares a kiss with her sister Vanessa in the very next chapter. It's another forbidden kiss, and Virginia revels in it because she kisses Vanessa behind her servant's back.
Virginia and Laura are also connected through suicidal desires. Woolf actually commits suicide by drowning herself in the prologue. As Laura reads Mrs. Dalloway, she is haunted by the idea that Woolf could have committed suicide because she secretly wants to do it herself. Laura is viewed as a social deviant-she's no June Cleaver, she enjoys reading, and she is dark featured, which goes against the conventions of beauty for her day. And now she locks herself away in a hotel room to read after she leaves her son in the care of another woman. Suicide becomes the ultimate act of rebellion for her: "It is possible to die. Laura thinks, suddenly, of how she-how anyone-can make a choice like that. It is a reckless, vertiginous thought . . . She could decide to die." But instead of physically killing herself, Laura sees her deviant behavior, abandoning her son and locking herself away in a hotel room to read a book, as a final act of suicide: "she imagines [Woolf] stepping into a river with a stone in her pocket. . . . It would be as simple, she thinks, as checking into a hotel. It would be as simple as that." When Laura Brown appears as an older woman later in a "Mrs. Dalloway" section, she is a ghost of her former self. Cunningham suggests that she actually dies that day, or stops pursuing the life she wants to live, in the hotel room.
If Laura Brown is the Intellectual-Principle, then Richard is the Soul, a faint image of the original archetype, Virginia Woolf. On the surface, it appears that Richard is more connected to the experiences of Woolf than his mother, Laura, is. Woolf and Richard are the writers. Woolf and Richard are plagued by illness. But the Soul has only a faint remembrance of its origins. Laura Brown is a direct reflection of Woolf. Richard is an important character, both in the "Mrs. Dalloway" and "Mrs. Brown" sections, but he isn't given the role of protagonist as Laura Brown is. We can see his relatedness to the Woolf archetype through his being a writer and the fact that he calls his best friend Clarissa Vaughan "Mrs. Dalloway."
Richard is also plagued by what he feels is deviant behavior, although his kiss is a variation of the deviant Brown and Woolf kisses. Both Richard and Clarissa are homosexual (or at least they profess not to be attracted to the opposite sex), and they share a kiss when they are younger. For some reason they never allow themselves to develop their relationship beyond that of close friends, and they view their past relationship as some kind of an inexpressible aberration. Like Laura and Virginia, Richard is not able to pursue his desires.
Virginia's creative genius also haunts Richard's work. In a "Mrs. Woolf" section, Virginia imagines the plot for Mrs. Dalloway: ". . . can a single day in the life of an ordinary woman be made into enough for a novel? . . . Clarissa Dalloway will die, of that she feels certain . . ." Although Richard is a poet, he writes one novel, which is a huge critical failure. Out of his obsession for Clarissa Vaughan, he writes a tome about her, a day-in-the-life. Virginia's questions are answered through his novel. Writing a single day-in-the-life of an ordinary woman is not possible in Richard's work, and although Clarissa Dalloway does not commit suicide in Woolf's version, Clarissa Vaughan does in Richard's. Richard, although he is twice removed from Woolf, shares the same thoughts that come from the archetype.
Richard is further connected to Brown and Woolf through his suicide. Richard, after a long battle with AIDS, jumps out of his apartment window. Like Woolf, he is tired of being sick. But part of his desire to die stems from his flawed relationships-one of these relationships is a love/hate one with his mother, Laura Brown. Laura's lack of affection towards Richard appears in the "Mrs. Brown" sections, and the results are viewed in Richard's inability to feel complete as a person. Laura Brown did not feel complete as a person either, and she transferred this to her son.
Why would Michael Cunningham establish these archetypal worlds within The Hours? It was only after I started this paper that I understood why. Laura and Richard are variations of Woolf. Although they live in different time periods and are involved with very different relationships, all three have difficulty confronting who they are. All three feel like failures, all three are frightened by their past behaviors, and all three desire to die because they cannot face themselves. Ultimately, just as Borges is the real wizard who conjures up the world of "The Circular Ruins," we must read Cunningham as the conjurer of The Hours. It is not Woolf who is chasing after the "tiger, the beast not found in verse," or connecting the caves. Cunningham is the one writing in order to find meaning that isn't explicit in the text. Through Woolf and her two ghost tigers, Cunningham explores how real people like them ("the flesh and bone tiger beyond all myths)" cope (or don't cope) with living in their own skin.
Again, the question of cultural expectations comes into play. Virginia Woolf and Laura Brown cannot explore their bisexuality, Laura is not supposed to have goals beyond that of a homemaker, and Richard and Clarissa will not expand their relationship beyond friendship. It's almost as if they have rigidly defined themselves as homosexual and cannot comprehend that they could be attracted to the opposite sex, no matter how strong their impulses towards each other. So, Cunningham analyzes how individuals can be marginalized by cultural expectations, but his metafictional commentary is supported by an archetype of his own making.
Is archetypical metafiction anything substantial?
I don't intend to declare that a new sub-genre or movement exists, only suggest that some of the more recent metafictions have different goals than the textual games in the metafictions of the 1960s and 1970s and historiographic metafictions. "Archetypical metafiction" may not be the right term for them (if they indeed need one), but their metafictional techniques bring new perspectives on evaluating and challenging flawed ideals. Archetypes, stereotypes, and flawed ideals create potentially destructive short hands: if I can neatly stick a label on individuals or groups without truly understanding them, I can demand that these individuals or groups meet my expectations or damn them when they don't.
In a climate where the times are becoming more confusing and groups are becoming even more marginalized due to their race, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation, some of the ideals we've held on a pedestal deserve to be ridiculed by keen and opportunistic authors. The methodology appearing in archetypical metafiction is one more way to tear those ideals down.
1Model minority, dumb blonde, guidos, white trash, camel jockeys, WASPs, JAPs, and BAPs . . . [back]
2And I hesitate to label anything these days, with a proliferation of -punk and -krusher movements running rampant. [back]
3Linda Hutcheon. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. London: Routledge, 1988. 125. [back]
4See also: Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwhal (1988), which questions the will to power, the role of the media in spreading certain cultural expectations, and the ideal of the American hero. [back]
5How can they, when they're all in jail? [back]
6Percival Everett. Erasure. New York: Hyperion, 2001. 2. [back]
7Ibid 2. [back]
8Ibid. 61-2. [back]
9Ibid. 82. [back]
10I'm not comfortable using the term "black literature," either. I suppose I would feel better if there were a "white literature" section at my local brick-and-mortar. Well, not really. [back]
11Ibid. 260. [back]
12Ibid. 260. [back]
13Jesse Algernon Rhines. Black Film/White Money. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, 1996. 65. [back]
14Richard Wright. "Between Laughter and Tears," New Masses. 5 Oct. 1937. [back]
15W. Lawrence Hogue. Discourse and the Other. Chapel Hill: Duke University Press, 1988. 29. [back]
16A very basic summary of Plotinian theory: Plotinus is greatly influenced by Plato, as seen in his three hypostases-the One, the Intellectual-Principle, and the Soul. The One can be likened to Plato's Good, that entity which is above and beyond all entities and contains all Forms, Ideas, and knowledge. Because the One shines its light directly on the Intellectual-Principle, the Intellectual-Principle has a true image of the One imprinted on to it, and it reflects a true image of the One. What the Intellectual-Principle reflects is the perfection of ideas and forms: ". . . the Forms exist as the objects of thought of a divine intellect" (Eyjólfur Kjalar Emilsson. Plotinus on Sense-Perception: A Philosophical Study. (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988), 17.). Plotinus's Soul is twice removed from the One, and it therefore has an incomplete, corrupted image of the One. [back]
17Jorge Luis Borges. "The Other Tiger." Qtd. in Michael Cunningham. The Hours. New York: Picador USA, 1998. [back]
18Virginia Woolf. Qtd. in Michael Cunningham. The Hours. New York: Picador USA, 1998. [back]
19Jorge Luis Borges. "The Other Tiger" Dreamtigers. Trans. Mildred Boyer and Harold Morland. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1964. 70-1. [back]
20Geoffrey H. Hartman,. "Review of The Aleph and Other Stories 1933-1969." Critical Essays on Jorge Luis Borges. Ed. Jaime Alazarki. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1987. 126. [back]
21Michael Cunningham. The Hours. New York: Picador USA, 1998. 30. [back]
22Ibid. 30-1. [back]
23See Borges's "The Aleph," where Borges the character is being watched through a mirror that opens into another world. [back]
24Ibid. 108-10. [back]
25Ibid. 110. [back]
26Ibid. 143. [back]
27Ibid. 154. [back]
28Ibid. 151. [back]
29Ibid. 152. [back]
30Indeed, Clarissa Vaughan is also a cave and a ghost tiger connected to Woolf, and a lot could be said about how she fits into Cunningham's cosmology. [back]
31Cunningham, 69. [back]
Nashville, TN native Toiya Kristen Finley is a freelancer who was a professional student in another life, traveling to faraway places like New York University, Iowa State, and Binghamton University before returning home. She is the founding and former managing/fiction editor of Harpur Palate. Her nonfiction and fiction have appeared in Philosophy in Culture, Popular Contemporary Writers, The Encyclopedia of Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America, Nature, Dog Versus Sandwich, Text: UR—The New Book of Masks, and Farrago's Wainscot. Upcoming fiction will be in Subtle Edens: The Elastic Book of Slipstream, Fifth Wednesday Journal and Electric Velocipede..
copyright © 2008, Toiya Kristen Finley
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—Archetypical Metafiction: Scrutinizing Fallen Archetypes
TOIYA KRISTEN FINLEY