Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the evolution of three types of improvisation: a mode of literary composition, a method through which to advocate social change, and a theoretical practice. The theory that attempts to account for such improvisational strategies both simulates the material activity of improvisation and identifies the presence of improvisation itself as indicative of the first stage in an emerging literary genre. The chapter demonstrates the interrelated operations of these strategies through applied analyses of two texts, Mark Z. Danielewski’s experimental haunted-house novel House of Leaves (2000) and Edward P. Jones’s neo-slave narrative The Known World (2003). The argument locates improvisatory techniques in these two novels; examines the ways in which they diverge from preexisting theoretical trends in the fields of improvisation studies, postmodernist fiction, and the neo-slave narrative; and identifies these new improvisatory modes as signs of hitherto uncategorized literary forms.

Keywords: improvisation, literature, House of Leaves, The Known World, postmodernism, neo-slave, narrative

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.