“You will see the logic of the design of this”: from historiography to taxonomography in the contemporary metafiction of Sarah Waters’s Affinity

Eve, Martin Paul (2013) “You will see the logic of the design of this”: from historiography to taxonomography in the contemporary metafiction of Sarah Waters’s Affinity. Neo-Victorian Studies, 6 (1). pp. 105-125. ISSN UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

Although, in some ways, Sarah Waters’s Affinity looks akin to historiographic metafiction, M.-L. Kohlke has persuasively argued that the text is more accurately dubbed “new(meta)realism”, a mode that demonstrates the exhausted potential of the form. This article suggests that genre play and a meta-generic mode, dubbed taxonomography, might be a further helpful description for the mechanism through which Waters’s novel effects its twists and pre-empts the expectations of an academic discourse community. This reading exposes Waters’s continuing preoccupation with the academy but also situates her writing within a broader spectrum of fiction that foregrounds genre as a central concern. Ultimately, this article asks whether Waters’s novel can, itself, be considered as a text that disciplines its own academic study in the way that it suggests that the academy has become, once more, blind to class.

Keywords:Affinity, Sarah Waters, Metafiction, Historiography, Taxonomography, Genre, historiograhic metafiction, academia, disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, class, sexuality, Michel Foucault, contemporary fiction
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:11753
Deposited On:30 Aug 2013 18:19

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