History-Fiction Essay

4673 WordsFeb 6, 201319 Pages
Historiographic Metafiction and Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children The postmodern Indian English novel is typically characterized by a rather confusing intermingling of genres. This ambiguity and intermixing of genres is mostly evident in the promiscuous blurring of boundaries between fact and fiction, history and myth. The twin elements of fact and fiction have come to play a dominant role in the postmodern texts with writers like Salman Rushdie, Shashi Tharoor and Amitav Ghosh being its ardent exponents. As literature has its roots in history, it often nourished and took sustenance from it. But in the recent times this relationship between myth and history or fact and fiction has become problematic. This problematization of the boundaries is one of the characteristics of postmodernism. Postmodernism, which offers a fundamental critique of the conventional mode of history writing, sometimes becomes so radical that it tends to be anti-history. The main ingredients of history writing such as facts, sources, documents and records come under a severe scrutiny. The certainty and fixity of history is debunked and the historiography’s claim of affinity with truth is attacked. Lawrence Lerner goes to the extent of saying that history is a narrative “blend of observation, memory and imagination” and that “historical reality is a special case of fiction, as speech is a special case of writing… and nature a special case of culture” (Laurence Lerner,1988: 12). The postmodern philosophy of history bases its arguments on poststructuralist theories, which claim the textuality of reality. Poststructuralist thought makes it clear that history is a text, a discourse of representations that actually are verbal formations. The past can never be attained in a pure form as historical events; it can only be reached through chronicles and archival documents. Poststructuralist impact opens the

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