Contemporary Literary Review India | eISSN 2394-6075 | Vol 6, No 1: CLRI Feb 2019

Elements of historiographical metafiction in Margaret Atwood’s ‘’the blind assassin’ and Martin Amis’ ‘’Time’s arrow’’: A comparative literary analysis

Dr Tapash Rudra | Lincoln University College, Selangor, Malaysia


Historiography is the study of history as a discipline. This evaluates the methodological and epistemological aspects during the course of history or historical manifestations of a specific era. However, the past could not be proclaimed only by means of a simple narrative. In reality, the metafiction illustrates the way of reconstructing and rewriting the historical incidents. It virtually uncovers the various facets of a historical era as it not only confines itself within the dry historical facts, rather it rejuvenates the monumental events that took place and how they eventually affected the memoir of the personal belief and emotion of the people. In this work, I chose two completely different novels as far as their historical background is concerned, however, gender discrimination at the social hierarchy and classism have always been existing, both during peace and crisis, as I intricate and compare the flow of both the novels. I tried to analyze both the novels with utter importance from the historiographical point of view so as to propel them into metafictional elements and make sure how they could be brought into public perspective. Moreover, I went in depth of the theoretical aspect of both the novels and emphasized on literary techniques that have been employed to manifest how these novels are extremely adequate to portray ‘’historiographical metafiction.
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Keywords: Historiography, Metafiction, Post-modernism, Memoir, Holocaust


Historiography is a discipline of the historical process - historical methods, biases, and authorship, to name a few. Metafiction is sometimes designated to illusory fiction as well.

Linda Hutcheon, a Canadian scholar and literary critic, coined this term for the first time.

It does mean, in her words, literary scholarship that "are well-known and popular novels which are both intensely self-reflexive and yet paradoxically also lay claim to historical events and personages".

The history writing has been constantly under literary scanner with a huge degree of scrutiny, however, it is quite legitimate in each regard. This is because along with the writing of history comes bias.

Reading a history book always comes with potential bias as we don’t know the accuracy that the book has to provide. Historiographical literature is the literary manner of writing that is found in several of the postmodern novels. The postmodern literary critics use this as the principle weapon in their repertoire.

However, the historiography is not only the concept. Rather, it perpetuates with the idea of metafiction. Metafiction, on the other hand, is a type of writing where the book itself adheres to the devices of fiction.

A historiographical metafiction can be of various categories: it may be a work of fiction within a fiction, a non-linear novel, or a novel about the writing of another novel.

In the context of my study, however, both the novels like, ‘’the blind assassin’’ by Margaret Atwood as well as ‘’Time’s arrow’’ by Martin Amis provide all the attributes of a historiographical metafiction.

At the same time, the respective novels are completely different from each other in their literary aspects. ‘’the blind assassin’’ is a story comprising a novel-within-a novel, whereas, ‘’Time’s arrow’’ is a reversal of history with respect to time that engage the readers to obtain a new look into metafictional perspective.
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Literature Review

If we could revert back through time frame the conflict of literature and history has been a booming issue of academic interest since early 1970’s. Both the novels of my comparative study are the reflections of historical and social trauma that potentially ascertain the backbone of the literature, however, in quiet different literary perspectives.

The first probable scholarly work has been done on the novel ‘’the blind assassin’’ by Hayden White in 1973 when he published ‘’Metahistory’’. In this work he emphasized that history and literature are more alike than we would believe in reality, due to their textual and narrative nature: “The [historical] events are made into a story by the suppression or subordination of certain of them and the highlighting of others, by characterization, motific repetition, variation of tone and point of view, alternative descriptive strategies, and the like—in short, all of the techniques that we would normally expect to find in the emplotment of a novel or a play” (“The Historical Text” 84).

White added on to it that these would involve a new dimension to look back into history and its significant events. In fact, he summarizes this as ‘’ “The Modernist Event,” by certain wobbly incidents at the beginning of the twentieth century—world wars, genocide, poverty, pollution, to name a few that dismantled the footing of traditional history writing.

White, in his work of ‘’Metahistory’’ wrote “bear little similarity to what earlier historians conventionally took as their objects of study and do not, therefore, lend themselves to understanding by the commonsensical techniques utilized in conventional historical inquiry” (“The Modernist Event” 70). Furthermore, White went on by saying “stylistic innovations of [literary] modernism” were a direct result of the historically unconventional “modernist event,” according to White, and would therefore be better suited to represent it “than the storytelling techniques traditionally utilized by historians” (“The Modernist Event” 82).

The pioneering work has been carried out to illustrate the literary aspect of ‘’the blind assassin’’ by none other than Linda Hutcheon. She postulated the literary theory of postmodernism for the first time which dislodged the previous idea of modernism. In her scholarly work ‘’The Poetics of Postmodernism’’ she introduced and characterized the concept of ‘’historiographical metafiction’’ to manifest a historical period with respect to literary senses and perception.

She enumerated the term ‘’historiographical metafiction’’ by saying, historiographical metafiction does not only concern itself with history: the critical attitude towards history, caused by the traumas of modernism, is in postmodernism supplemented with issues from the “social, and political world” (Hutcheon ix). In reality, the novel ‘’the blind assassin’’ has been interwoven with the advent of postmodernism concept by Linda Hutcheon.

In recent past, however, there has been a number of scholars who eventually contradicted even with the established postmodern theory as well. Literature scholars like Astrid Erll, Ann Rigney, Birgit Neumann, and Aleida Assmann, emphasized more on cultural memoir of the novel ‘’the blind assassin’’ than metafiction.

The story would have been not completed until I introduce Alan Robinson, arguably, one of the most eye catching literary critics of the concept of historiographical metafiction. He argued that the novel like ‘’the blind assassin’’ is far from relevant if we compare it with regard to modern day circumstances. He criticized such novels in his scholarly works by saying, “Criticism of historical novels is still dominated by the model of historiographical metafiction. But, after the heyday of postmodernist self-reflexivity in the 1980s, this is now outdated; it is also inadequately narrow in reducing historiography to epistemological issues and in neglecting the crucial importance of temporality in the interplay between past present and past future and present past” (Robinson, Narrating xiii).

On the contrary, the novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’ revolves around the conceptual framework that appears to rewrite the Holocaust history, providing a unique ideology insight into its perception rather than underneath traditional historical facts.

Analysis by (Fredric Jameson 1998) on Holocaust is considered arguably the first scholarly work on the novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’. He analyzed the novel into two distinct facets: The Holocaust that happened and nuclear Holocaust that seemed likely to occur. He claimed these two events provoked the historical turn around in the twentieth century. Furthermore, he depicted that ‘’Time’s arrow revolved around these historical point of view that eventually gave birth to postmodern climactic perceptions.

(Hollinger 2002) described this novel is postmodern in its literary aspect, however, with its rapid action and diversification from traditional linear framework, and unique styling expresses a deeper cultural crisis, comprising the scenario that holds “perception of historical truth” and “glimpse of things to come”.

The next two scholarships regarding the novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’ have been carried forward by Berger and Patty respectively. Berger in his work described the novel as a reflection of ‘’ the paradigmatic instance of an apocalypse in history” (Berger 59).

On the other hand, according to Patty, the novel enlightens “radical break” of the twentieth century, a caesura, evoking a “re-thinking of the relation between past, present and future” and the rise of the Postmodern (Parry 249-51).

The scholarly works continued. Dermott McCarthy narrated ‘’Time’s arrow’’ as the ‘’ “metafictive horror” which perpetuates both nuclear and historical Holocaust in the same frame: the narrator’s backward journey toward the one mirrors the world’s forward movement toward the other (McCarthy 1999).

Last but not the least, Allan Weiss, one of the contemporary postmodern critics argued Time’s Arrow combines elements of the conceptual and the postmodern apocalypse: it feels like “the end of the world as we know it” but the nature of this end is “difficult if not impossible to define” (Weiss 37).
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Comparative Literary Analysis between The Two Novels:

Elemental conceptualization of historiographical metafiction

Historiographical metafiction is a term, propounded by none other than literary theorist Linda Hutcheon. The term “historiographical metafiction” was introduced by Linda Hutcheon in her essay “Beginning to Theorize the Postmodern” in 1987. Moreover, she then constructed a seminal study, known as ‘’A Poetics of Postmodernism’’ (1988), where she perpetuated the term by saying “those well-known and popular novels which are both intensely self-reflexive and yet paradoxically also lay claim to historical events and personages.”

Several of the modern contemporary novelists pertain to the concept of historiographical metafiction, starting with Michael Ondaatje, in his novels such as ‘’Running in the Family’’, ‘’In the Skin of a Lion’’, ‘’The English Patient’’ and ‘’Coming through Slaughter’’. All these novels attributed to the fact of reconstructing and rewriting history during the early- and mid-twentieth century. In reality, historiographical metafiction is the process of rewriting historical events or a period of history in such a way that has not been documented previously.

Linda Hutcheon, evaluated a series of literary concepts that might be the potential elements of historiographical metafiction. However, I would like to emphasize that the most significant among these are the use of multiple narratives or perspectives, self-reflexivity, and intertextuality, which are most likely to be amalgamated with parody.

Hutcheon, summarized this, in fact, by quoting “postmodern concern for the multiplicity and dispersion of truth(s), truth(s) relative to the specificity of place and culture” (Hutcheon 108).

Therefore, the overall idea is to manifest the reality in somewhat different propositions. Self- reflexibility, open up novels to a great degree both regarding their establishment and underneath historical facts are concerned. Hutcheon’s best part of the scholarly works has been revolving around this.

The ‘’ordinary’’ metafiction is being characterized by the novel itself or through the narrative commentary of the characters. On the contrary, historiographical metafiction too focusses on the factuality of the events but in a relatively diverse fashion.

The most fascinating element of historiographical metafiction is inert-textually. I wish to quote directly from her writing; historiographical metafiction “cite the intertexts of both the ‘world’ and art and, in so doing, contest the boundaries that many would unquestioningly use to separate the two” (127).

She added on to it, ‘’as intertexts are often used ironically or as a parody, they are also a form of rebellion against the canon, whether historical or literary, while at the same time upholding it’’ (Hutcheon 130).

Justification of historiographical metafiction in ‘’ the blind assassin’’

Margaret Atwood's ‘’the blind assassin’’ is a deceptive and at the same time quite deliberate metafiction. In one word, it resembles like a ‘’Russian doll’’, it is a novel-within-a novel within another novel, blending three narrative perspectives interwoven with newspaper clippings, a letter, and society announcements.

Notion of interchangeability/ concept of novel-within-a novel

It focusses on these narratives to cater an interchangeable story, slowly making it become clearer over time, with the use of darkness imagery, interlaces allusions to myths, fairy tales, literature, and the Bible to explore the ways we all blindly “assassinate” in personal and political wars calling for sacrifice; making the story come to a whole at the end. Robinson clearly stated that the novel has been regarded by the author herself as a ‘’collage’’ (qtd. in Robinson 59).

"Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." Thus the novel initiates, as does the first-person narrative of Iris Chase, who is writing from the perspective granted by old age.

She tells her own story and that of her younger sister Laura, and how from a young age any chance of simplicity was totally abolished from their lives. First by circumstances, that comprised world war and economic recession, secondly, by the invasion of ruthless, ambitious people into their respective lives.

Margaret utilized this story perspective admirably as a template character to the other two narrative perspectives. This was the first strand that she used to mingle her stories together. It has been processed in this way by the sure use of subtle hints and unlikely illusions within her dark imagery.

Another aspect of "the blind assassin" included disgraceful memories of Iris that intermingled with the tale of Chase sisters. This is the second narrative beings to take effect from Iris’s mind.

It's about a man and a woman involved in a surreptitious love saga, inevitably doomed by any means, but their secret and passionate meetings are highlighted by the sci-fi fable; she tells her lover every time they meet.
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Monologue of memoirs

This love affair creates a monologue of the time period when Canada was snuffing out all of the union workers. The lady is only known as the women, but it comes to the point of reckoning that Iris is writing about herself.

In another dimension of time, in a land called Sakiel-Norn, we see an entire society live in luxury but at the expense of sadistic yearly sacrifices and the hands and eyes of unlucky slave children.

The last narrative perspective is hidden nicely hidden within this story. With deft hands the children weave the most beautiful and intricate fabrics with vibrating colors and exotic textures, but after only a few years they are blinded by their prodigious work.

They are then subjected to prostitutes, thieves, and finally, assassins. The story is told in elaborate but subtle installments. Using the only characters, the blind assassin and the mute priestess as the final elemental aspect to reveal the plot of Iris’s life.

In other words, whenever Iris has been restricted merely within the book, it seems that she has been blind, moreover, she was assumingly speechless around her world.

Inter-textual concept and postmodern theory

Although the principle idea of ‘’the blind assassin’’ is ‘’novel within novel’’, but we eventually find several articles from various newspapers and popular magazines where the objectivity of the novel might be under scanner to establish a somewhat different proposition. However, due to the dates and references are pointed to the actual events, it more likely illustrates that the novel is embedded in historical perspectives.

I would like to like quote Linda Hutcheon’s own words to emphasize this fact, “irony does indeed mark the difference from the past, but the intertextual echoing simultaneously works to affirm—textually and hermeneutically—the connection with the past” (Hutcheon 125).

The most striking example of intertextuality takes place as literary critic Hilde Staels perfectly pointed out by mentioning Herodotus (153). Herodotus was a Greek philosopher and arguably, the first historian. Staels mentioned that the stories of Herodotus comprised of facts that pertaining to the Metafictional elements (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Incidentally, Herodotus has been cited twice: once by Iris to her reader (345) and once by the woman ‘’in the blind assassin’’ to her lover (421). In both instances, they assumingly, mentioned the name of Herodotus to prove their historical knowledge, without really knowing the actual past.

It’s quite ironic as they might cite the fictional stories of Herodotus, without knowing too much about that.

Therefore, we can say, there is a contrasting array of events take place here; comprising historical narratives, resurrection and reconstruction of facts that have been already done and dusted, historical phenomena, holding the undeviating evidences of time.
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Establishment of historiographical metafiction in ‘’ Time’s arrow’’

Martin Amis’s novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’ personifies two aspects of narrative metafiction: the vertical break up of perception that differentiates narrator and protagonist residing in the same body frame, and secondly, the allocation of instantaneousness, that, in turn, makes the illusion of past and future. In other words, this initiates the narrator to persevere in understanding the protagonist in a totally reverse manner (Amis 1987).

This historiographical metafiction, represents a remarkable resilience, catering two distinct crisis: one sneaking through and the other hovering around, procuring the mass devastation in either direction.

As a whole, however, ‘’Time’s arrow’’ magnifies, arguably, the most catastrophic crisis of 20th century, by illustrating the apocalyptic and rupturing events. Not only that, Amis, through this metafiction predicts the upcoming adverse thing to come.

This Holocaust framework determines the postmodern style and the subjectivity of Time’s Arrow. Moreover, it intensifies the ruptured temporality of the narrative and the splitting of subjectivity of its main character. In reality, both of them lurking behind the narrator/protagonist’s participation in the Nazi genocide.

Time’s Arrow begins with a perception where, the principle character has become intensely embedded with his body and intricate that the first- narrator partially identifies himself in the body he resides.

The metafiction temporality dismantles the overall orientation of the rationale, considering the past and present. Healing turns into violence, the veil Holocaust has been erased as the destruction becomes more pronounced rather than creativity.

War has been inevitable, moreover, the entire perspective of the novel assumingly trapped in a perpetual state of crisis. Catastrophic destruction pertains to the fact, owing to the shortening of history and upcoming future.

Holocaust perception in the novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’

The Holocaust represents a major cultural crisis in Time’s Arrow. To be honest, not only nuclear Holocaust, the novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’ is a unique historiographical metafiction as it reflects the overall perception of perpetual crisis, postmodern apocalyptic narrative perspective, of the 20th century.

In this regard, the novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’ has been designated as a ‘’metafictive horror’’ rather a mere historiographical metafiction. Dermot McCarthy admirably analyses ‘’Time’s arrow’’ as the ‘’perfect combination of nuclear and historical Holocaust.’’

I would like to quote ‘’ “. . . Amis deals with the terrifying fact that [the twentieth] century has twice confronted us with the limits of the ‘thinkable’—the Holocaust of WWII and the potential holocaust of the end of the world” (McCarthy 311).

Concept of perpetual crisis

Traumatic effects as well as metafictive horror virtually echoes across the novel ‘’Time’s arrow. In fact, the narrator escalates exact attributes in post-World War II in America.

In this context, I would love to quote literary scholars like Vice and Diedrick, respectively: ‘’Caught in crisis wrought confusion, the narrator interprets “medicine’s therapeutic role” as “destructive” (Vice 31), ‘’New York surgeons in terms that seem better suited to Auschwitz doctors’’ (Diedrick 140).

This metafiction is a fusion of reversal of temporality, creativity as well as mass destruction of mind and soul. However, with the aid of this confusion, the novel reasons the dissemination of time frame, perspective and consequence of war. This historiographical metafiction, establishes postmodern world and genocide as the two facets of perpetual crisis.

On the contrary, ‘’Time’s arrow’’ is significantly different from the rest of the narratives because it demarcates continual crisis from postmodern apocalypse. Here, both the character as well as narration are subjected to split up.
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Perspective of psychological manifestation of apocalyptic rupture

The psychological dimension of apocalyptic rupture reverberates across the overall narrative content, reflecting the split of self that differentiates narrator and protagonist. It, therefore, implying to post-traumatic perspectives that adheres to Robert Jay Lifton’s theory of psychological doubling. (Granofsky 1995)

Intertextuality of Holocaust narrative

‘’Time’s arrow’’ is a perfect scenario of intertextuality. Holocaust survival narratives,

Psychological studies, physics textbooks, and science fiction, among other textual

interconnections, all equivocally tribute to the inter textual manifesto that holds a stern resistance against conventional narratives. (Hollinger 2002)

Pivot of postmodern apocalypse

Postmodern apocalypse is the pivot around which the entire metafiction is revolved. To illustrate more we must take the reference of Allan Weiss and his idea on Canadian science fiction. There he emphasizes these science fictions are “apocalypse without closure”.

Adding on to that, the novel ‘’Time’s arrow’’ resembles the elements of conceptual as well as postmodern apocalypse. It, according to Weiss, “the end of the world as we know it” but the nature of this end is “difficult if not impossible to define” (Weiss 37).

Perpetual postmodern apocalyptic conditions that escalate the narrator-protagonist framework, is a destabilizing inter-crisis. However, ‘’Time’s arrow’’ in this regard, is quite different from normal narratives.

The novel’s resistance to traditional narrative frame makes it a totally different class of historiographical metafiction. Furthermore, this resistance demarcates this novel from instability and to a c certain extend towards escapabiity of the catastrophic crisis.

‘’Time’s arrow’’ also characterizes that the postmodern apocalypse sneaks through the temporality that eventually stimulates the reader’s thinking to go beyond apocalyptic perception. It helps the readers to a great extend to contemplate towards a wider time frame and existence. Martin Amis’ ‘’Time’s arrow’’ explicit this fact in a magnificent orderly fashion.
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Implications of literary techniques in ‘’Time’s arrow’’

Traditional concept of time has been an integral issue for postmodern novelists. We know that writing history is a time consuming job and the overall flow of writing of an even or an array of events, must be in forward direction.

‘’Time’s arrow’’ is quite astonishing in this context. The flow of the novel is totally reverse in its orientation which is in absolute contrast to the tradional narratives. In fact, this historiographical metafiction draws hake of an interest in this regard.

To illustrate more on it, reader must reshape the order of sentences to understand the meaningfulness that is hidden underneath. In ‘’Time’s arrow’’ the forward sentence becomes backward or the reader has to read the first sentence as the last one.

‘’Unwrap’’ clams itself to be as ‘’wrap’’, ‘’walk away’’ appears to be ‘’come in’’, to name a few. To emphasize more on that, I must include the self-citation by the author himself. ‘’Although the narrator hears the conversation backwards, he understands in the progress of time that “the pitiable chirruping [is] . . . , in fact, human speech” (Amis, Arrow 14)

Not only conversations, the circumstances are also reversed in a backward fashion in ‘’Time’s arrow’’. However, the most intriguing aspect of reversal is evident in the moral meaning. Incidentally, Amis himself quoted during an interview, “the arrow of time is not just the arrow of reason but the arrow of morality and you turn anything around, all violence, all morality is controlled by the arrow of time and becomes its opposite” (Amis, Interview).

The major reason behind the use of reverse literary narrative frame in this novel is to portray the Holocaust changes that propel through it. ‘’Time’s Arrow’’ ‘’represents a longing for “undo[ing]” the Holocaust’’ (McGlothin 220; Heiler 248).

We know that during catastrophe of World War II bulk of the Europe was devastated, thousands of houses, sculptures were abolished and people were in a state of utter disappointment. Here Martin Amis through ‘’Time’s arrow’’ tries to resurrect history and propels back through time machine.

If time was taken back, cities and buildings would be restored, and people would come back to life. Under these conditions Odilo Unverdorben, who is a uniformed doctor-soldier, reaches Auschwitz, “fused for a preternatural purpose” (Amis, Arrow 124): “To dream a race. To make people from the weather. From thunder and from lightning. With gas, with electricity, with shit, with fire” (Amis, Arrow 128).

A feature of Time’s Arrow that separates it from traditional historical fiction is the introduction of the narrator how he has been employed. In traditional narratives the narrator is a unified self who synthesizes objective knowledge about the past, and it’s subsequent objectively. In Time’s Arrow, on contrary to that, the undefined narrator, has a limited scenario of the world revolving around him, which constitutes a controversy about the conventional aspect of the narrator.


In the novel ‘’the Blind Assassin’’, Atwood caters the subjectivity of truth and reality. The events are portrayed differently according to the different characters' perspectives on the events and circumstances.

Furthermore, Atwood manifests various literary perspectives and leads the reader to believe in one thing, when in the end the contrary is the other. Ultimately, however, the truth is shown to be what the reader thinks, as the author and characters are not reliable. The main narrative, which is written by the character Iris, shows her take on things. Iris also portrays the other characters' perspectives such as Winifred and Laura. The reader can only rely on Iris, because she is the only one the reader has access to.

Since the reader can only rely on Iris, the reader doesn't take what she says for granted. However, Iris brings out other perspectives of the events and that's what causes the reader to question her truth.

‘’The Blind Assassin’’, like 1930s and 40s, gender discrimination and classism in social hierarchy, are still very much evident today, both from the perspectives of peace and war, crisis. Therefore, that metafiction that represents such social discourse should be envisaged in cultural memory.

Examples of historiographical metafiction, such as ‘’the blind assassin’’, is tailor-made for this. Novels like these, proclaim an array of events of an era that characterize fictions of memory. Historiographical metafiction can sustain a very important part in bringing forgotten pasts back to the public consciousness.

‘’The Blind Assassin’ ’is a class apart as it stamps its authority in an unique way to try to claim a space for feminism and class criticism in history, expressing sorrow and resurrect the way common women and people used to be treated at the beginning of twentieth century.

A reversal of time frame is very much pronounced, escalating various contemporary events. Honestly speaking, these incidents were not catastrophic always, however, both protagonists lose loved ones during war and the novel bring in major attributes to different ways in which war victims are memorized.

‘’The blind assassin’’ keeps asking the readers to rejuvenate that the language of victims, survivors, perpetrators, and perpetrated is not reserved for war. Margaret Atwood rather focusses more on gender and class keeping the contemporary context in mind.

This counter-history is not only the reflection of a solitary fact, rather it resembles one among several narrative metafiction. At the same time, it keeps sizable room for the most likely futuristic sagas of the past context.

‘’Time’s Arrow’, on the other hand, is reconstructing and rewriting the Holocaust to provide a totally new model, hovering around the morality of the mass destruction by the implication of literary experimental techniques.

The reversal of narrative events as well as the narrator draw the reader’s attention to its process of writing, which by all means characterizes the novel as historiographical metafiction. Moreover, ‘’Time’s arrow’’ is a classic example of inter-texuality.

Literary critics argue that ‘’Time’s Arrow’’ exhibits backward narration against forward narratives of conventional historiography. This metafiction is the overall application of a fragmented narrator against the traditional role of the historian who is supposed to be undefined. Moreover, self-conscious intertextuality against the claims of objectivity of the metafictional perspective is the ethos of this historiographical novel.

However, intricate the facts, we find that there are potentials that suggest that Time’s Arrow does not seem to put much effort in the ‘’problematization of traditional history writing’’. The main concern of Time’s Arrow is not to criticize the practice of conventional history writing.

As a whole, this novel employs backward narration to create a moral attribute regarding the Holocaust to establish that it was nothing but a deviation from the expected progressive history.
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Historiographical metafiction is a huge area of postmodern literature is concerned. Therefore, we can easily state that not all the novels resembling historical narratives designate themselves under this label. In this context, Ansgar Nünning clearly states, “Hutcheon’s characterization of postmodernist fiction fails to answer the question of where to draw the line between historiographical metafiction and other narrative and generic modes for presenting past and present reality in fiction” (220).

Another important aspect is the choice of two novels which are apparently looking like meet all the proportions of historiographical metafiction, however, they are in many respects diverse from the originality of the concept of metafiction. Therefore, we should be firm enough to reconsider each postmodern historical novel before we put them in the category of historiographical metafiction.

To add to that, this study would facilitate the other contemporary literary scholars to propel themselves to carry out such kind of comparative studies. In doing so, they will surely develop new ideas and techniques in order to dissect the historiographical metafiction like ‘’the blind assassin’’ and ‘’Time’s arrow’’.

Last but not the least, in both the novels of my work, literary enlightenment and postmodern aspect have been manifested. Therefore, sizable amount of further research must be conducted to portray such wide field of historiography. At the same time, scholars should be encouraged to pick similar kind of novels in the context of contemporary history writing.

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  20. Amis, Martin. Interview. “Guardian book club podcast: John Mullan meets Martin Amis.” The Guardian, 28 Jun. 2010. Web. 10 Aug. 2016. /video/2010/feb/01/book-club-martin amis-times-arrow
  21. Amis, Martin. “The D. M. Thomas Phenomenon.” The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000. London: Vintage, 2002. 141-145. Print.
  22. Amis, Martin. The Zone of Interest. Novel. London: Cape, 2014. Print.
  23. Amis, Martin. Time’s Arrow. New York: Harmony, 1991. Print.
  24. Heiler, Lars. “The Holocaust and Aesthetic Transgression in Contemporary British Fiction.” Taboo and Transgression in British Fiction from the Renaissance and to the Present. Ed. Stefan Horlacher, Stefan Glomb, and Lars Heiler. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.
  25. Nünning, Ansgar. “Crossing Borders and Blurring Genres: Towards a Typology and Poetics of Postmodernist Historical Fiction in England since the 1960’s.” European Journal of English Studies 1.2 (1997): 217-238. Print.


Dr Tapash Rudra, PhD in Biotechnology, is an Associate Professor, Dept. of Biotechnology and Post Graduate Coordinator for Faculty of Science, with Lincoln University College, Malaysia. He has served as a lecturer with many institutions and is a widely published author.

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