How Literature Shapes Lives: Philip Roth’s Metafiction and Fluid Identities in the Secular Nation-State

Hüseyin Ekrem Ulus


This paper discusses how Philip Roth’s The Counterlife uses metafiction to portray the plasticity of identities in a critical stance against exclusivist attitudes in nation-states. After an analysis of Roth’s use of self-reflexivity, this research juxtaposes two conflicting accounts of nation-state by Roth and Anderson. Through this comparison, the paper puts forward that Roth’s fiction continuously undermines unisonance in nation-state. This research highlights the significance of writing and self-referentiality in Roth’s novel, as political tools of continuously reshaping not only identities but also identity categories in nation-states.


Metafiction, Identity, Nation-state, Secularism, Literature

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