ELEMENTS OF HISTORIOGRAPHIC METAFICTION IN PETER ACKROYD'S THE PLATO PAPERS (1999)
ALIREZA FARAHBAKHSH *
University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran
Islamic Azad University, Central Branch, Tehran, Iran
*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The purpose of this study is to trace the characteristic features of historiographic metafiction in Peter Ackroyd's The Plato Papers. This narratological study focuses on the theories formulated and developed by Linda Hutcheon and the characteristics she has enumerated for this particular type of fiction. In historiographic metafiction, history is willfully treated and rendered as a subjective account which includes deliberate, ironical, and playful changes in historical accounts and incidents. The result is the fictionalisation of history. The central question of the article is: How does history function as a metafictional agent in Peter Ackroyd's The Plato Papers? The purpose is to see which narrative elements can be claimed to exhibit aspects of postmodern fictional history-telling. The present paper shows that in the selected novel, history is presented as a subjective and constructed concept with no inherent reliability or authority. The narrative deals with a specific period in history, but Ackroyd manipulates certain individuals and facts in order to challenge the established history and offer his personal reading of it.
Keywords: Historiographic metafiction, postmodern novel, Peter Ackroyd, The Plato Papers