Focusing on the figure of the storyteller, this study breaks new ground in the approach to reading contemporary literature by identifying a growing interest in storytelling. For the last thirty years contemporary fiction has been influenced by theoretical discourses, textuality and writing. Only since the rise of postcolonialism have academic critics been more overtly interested in stories, where high theory frameworks are less applicable. However, as we move through various contemporary contexts engaging with postcolonial identities and hybridity, to narratives of disability and evolutionary accounts of group and individual survival, a common feature of all is the centrality of story, which posits both the idea of survival and the passing on of traditions.
The Return of the Storyteller in Contemporary Fiction closely examines this preoccupation with story and storytelling through a close reading of six contemporary international novelists that are either about actual 'storytellers' or engage with the figure of the storyteller, revealing how death of the author has given birth to the storyteller.
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Table of ContentsAcknowledgements \ Introduction \1. The Story of the Storyteller \ 2. Reading and Writing the Storyteller \ 3. The Birth of the Storyteller: Jim Crace's The Gift of Stones \ 4. Storyteller as Outcast: Mario Vargas Llosa's The Storyteller \ 5. The Oral Storyteller: Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses and Haroun and the Sea of Stories \ 6. Postmodern Story/reteller: John Barth's The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor \ 7. Storyteller-ess: A. S. Byatt's "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye"\ 8. Storyteller as Author: J. M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello and Slow Man \ Bibliography \ Index