Construction of narrative worlds in mimetic and anti-mimetic fiction: A critical reading of Possible Worlds Theory

Doğan Aslantatar, Sadenur
This study explores the construction of narrative worlds in mimetic and anti-mimetic fiction through a critical reading of Possible Worlds Theory. A canonical example of mimetic fiction, Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield (1850), is analyzed by means of the literary critical tools offered by the theory. The mimetic principle and the realist assumptions are at work in this novel and it is argued that this proves to be effective in examining the functioning of narrative worlds in the light of Possible Worlds Theory. However, the same theoretical tools fall short while investigating two typical examples of anti-mimetic fiction, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759-1767), a metafictional novel, and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981), a historiographic metafictional novel. Anti-mimetic practices such as self-reflexivity and narratorial interruptions result in a counteractive movement between the narrative worlds in Sterne’s novel and this requires a revision in the theory, which originally depends on mimetic genres. Similarly, Rushdie’s novel, with its political agenda of reclaiming history together with its metafictional features, cannot be thoroughly analyzed through the original version of the theory; and, therefore, another revision is needed so as to accommodate the anti-mimetic practices of the novel. In this respect, this study tests and revises Possible Worlds Theory in such a way that it comes to be an effective means of analysis for both mimetic and anti-mimetic fictional genres.


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Citation Formats
S. Doğan Aslantatar, “Construction of narrative worlds in mimetic and anti-mimetic fiction: A critical reading of Possible Worlds Theory,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2022.