The Literature of Exhaustion  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

John Barth discusses the theoretical problems of fiction writing, most notably in an essay, "The Literature of Exhaustion" (first printed in the Atlantic, 1967), that was widely considered to be a statement of "the death of the novel" (Compare with Roland Barthes's "The Death of the Author"). Barth has since insisted that he was merely making clear that a particular stage in history was passing, and pointing to possible directions from there. He later (1979) wrote a follow-up essay, "The Literature of Replenishment", to clarify the point.

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