This book presents an examination of textual implosion and consequent ‘loss of text’: in contemporary 20th century English and European literature, but also in certain areas of South American and Colonial Literature. The Missing Text examines the multifold techniques used in order to accomplish this phenomenon, and describes the effects such ‘loss of text’ exert on those novels or short stories in which textual loss or misplacement takes place.
The origin of a phenomenon which here termed the ‘missing text’ may be traced back to the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and even further. Its most immediate source may be found in his short story, The Purloined Letter (1845) thus establishing the blueprint for the genre of the anti-detective story. Although it was written in the mid-nineteenth century, Poe’s seminal story is astoundingly post-modern avant la lettre, thus setting the scenario for a sub-genre which has been termed ‘the missing text’.
This book aims to describe and reveal how the self-referentiality of missing texts has irrevocably influenced world literature of the late twentieth century, in particular focusing upon Italian literature of its last two decades.