The Quality of Qualia: Truth and Ethics in Reflexive Double Narratives
This chapter introduces the concept of “Reflexive Double Narratives,” stories told in multiple versions that include commentary on why this technique was necessary. Several popular works are discussed to examine how they convey their theoretical positions and how this reflects a general change in literature from postmodernism to post-postmodernism. This section begins with a comparison between John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and then goes on to discuss novels and stories by Yann Martel, Karen Joy Fowler and Alice Munro. The notion of “qualia” is borrowed from the field of Philosophy of Mind in order to argue that many contemporary writers are focused on literature’s ability to reveal what it feels like to be other people in other situations.