Title: Mark Twain’s Historiographic Metafiction about Joan of Arc
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Hsin-yun Ou, National University of Kaohsiung, Taiwan
This article argues that, in Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, Twain adopts the narrative technique of "historiographic metafiction" to draw parodies of gender norms and the genre distinction between history and fiction. Twain features the narrator as a nostalgic historian to satirize gender criticism that ascribes to Joan childlike simplicity, thereby maneuvering within conventions to subvert them. Building on Linda Hutcheon’s theory, this essay explicates how the discrepancy between the narrator’s language and the humorist’s popular style allows Twain’s fictionalized history to criticize patriarchal perspectives and interrogates our faith in historical writings that might be influenced by the political or religious landscape surrounding the historians.
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