Chemodurova Z.M. The Affective Turn in Metamodernist Fiction and “New Sincerity”


Zinaida M. Chemodurova

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Head of the Department of English and Cultural Studies, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia

Reki Moyki Emb., 48, 191186 Saint Petersburg, Russia

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Abstract. The aim of the article is to analyze pragmatic strategies and mechanisms to enhance narrative empathy, the key notion of metamodernist fiction that distinguishes it from postmodernist and modernist literary texts. The article postulates foregrounding of emotivity markers in metamodernist texts as a linguistic manifestation of the cultural logic of "new sincerity" in the contemporary fiction that is characterized by the lack of an explicit ludic modality of postmodernist fiction and by stressing means of producing emotional resonance on the part of the reader and their active perspective-taking. The article makes an original contribution to cognitive stylistics, multimodal studies and narratology by hypothesizing polyphony of narrative "voices", second-person narrative and visual foregrounding as effective pragmalinguistic tools of triggering emotive and cognitive empathy that increases reader's immersion in metamodernist fictional worlds. Using the novels by M. Porter and J. Egan, the short stories by J.S. Foer and D. Eggers as its case studies, the article proves the relevance of viewing the "new sincerity" concept as a driving force behind the authorial empathy towards fictional characters, which enhances emotionogenic potential of metamodernist fiction and contributes to reader's engagement with modeled emotive situations. The findings of the research testify to the importance of further research into "new sincerity" and potential mechanisms of inducing reader's empathy which is justly considered a powerful instrument for promoting social interaction, helping readers of all ages to inhibit aggression and develop understanding of others' motives, emotions and desires.

Key words: metamodernist fiction, narrative empathy, emotionogenic potential, new sincerity, emotional resonance, perspective-taking, visual foregrounding.

Citation. Chemodurova Z.M. The Affective Turn in Metamodernist Fiction and "New Sincerity". Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2024, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 84-97. DOI:

The Affective Turn in Metamodernist Fiction and “New Sincerity” by Chemodurova Z.M. is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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