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2018 | 66 | 6 | 841-869

Article title

Fikčnost ve faktuálním vyprávění : případ fikčních metaautobiografií


Title variants

Fictionality in factual narrative  : the case of fictional meta-autobiographies

Languages of publication



This study focuses on the issues surrounding texts that refer to an author’s life while deliberately including fictionality within the autobiographical testimony, i.e. via autofiction and fictional meta-autobiography. The fictional elements in this kind of writing often serve as a tool for self-reflection. Using specific narrative techniques, for example, these works comment on the issue of autobiographical memory, the epistemological (in)accessibility of the past, and the narrative construction of identity. This study endeavours to link the reflections of contemporary narratologists on fictional and non-fictional narration with an analysis of autofictional and meta-autobiographical works. The first section deals briefly with the issue of fictionality, presenting the rhetorical theory (of H. S. Nielsen, J. Phelan and R. Walsh), which enables us to perceive fictionality outside fiction as a component of factual communication about the real world. The following section focuses on the meta-autobiographical text Montauk by the Swiss author Max Frisch: it illustrates the method of including fictionality in an autobiographical text as a way to reflect on remembering, and on the possibilities of depicting one’s own life and creating one’s own I by writing. This analysis is linked to a brief excursus into narrative construction in autobiographical narration, primarily in connection with personal identity. The next section of the article briefly summarizes the differencs between classial autobiographies and contemporary self-reflectively inclined autobiographies and autofictions. It presents the category of fictional meta-autobiographies, which it includes in the broader framework of autofictional texts, and presents an (incomplete) summary of the many definitions and forms of autofiction. This is followed by an analysis of the second example of fictional metaautobiography, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by American author Dave Eggers, which ironically deconstructs the convention of autobiographical writing. The conclusion of the study points out the differences in the way fictionality is included in the works presented, forming the basis for a division of fictional meta-autobiographies in accordance with the kind of reading instructions which they present to readers: Montauk represents works that help the reader to switch between a fictional and an autobiographical interpretation method by indicating which parts or aspects are invented and which stay true to real events; on the other hand, texts like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius provide relatively few indications to help readers distinguish fictional elements and identify authentically autobiographical moments.








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  • Česká literatura, redakce, Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR, v. v. i., Na Florenci 3/1420, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic


Document Type

Publication order reference


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