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  An antinovel is a kind of fiction that challenges our assumptions of what the novel ought to be. By subverting expectation, it focuses attention on the writer\'s underlying agenda rather than on superficial aspects of style or narrative. Cervantes\' Don Quixote is not the adventure-saga whose structure it assumes; Thomas Mann\'s Confessions of Felix Krull is not the picaresque tale, and his Buddenbrooks is not the bildungsroman they purport to be. Subversion of formal expectation is often a feature of comic novels, from Laurence Sterne\'s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman to Joseph Heller\'s Catch-22. The antinovel reached its apogee in the 20th century, when general awareness of past styles and forms liberated creative artists of all kinds. They were able to take elliptical, ironical or lateral approaches not just to their subject matter, but to the techniques of their art, in the certainty that their audience would follow them. Antinovels are often claimed to be the especial prerogative of the French New Fiction writers of the 1960s and beyond. In fact the style appears throughout the century. In the sense described above, Samuel Beckett, Italo Calvino, Günter Grass, Hermann Hesse, James Joyce, Pär Lagerkvist, D.H. Lawrence, Gabriel García Márquez and Virginia Woolf were all antinovelists—and by no means all of them were mere experimenters. KMcL  



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