John Barth, "Dunyazadiad," from Chimera


1. "Dunyazadiad" is essentially a story about storytelling, "the good one you've got going," as Shahryar puts it. What is the role of the reader in such a piece? How does the success of "Dunyazadiad" depend "upon the reader's consent and cooperation . . . also her own combination of experience and talent for the enterprise"? Describe the experience of reading this particular story, and how that experience evolved over the course of the piece.

2. "I can't conclude it," the narrator admits at the end of "Dunyazadiad," "but it must end in the night that all good mornings come to." Describe the role of the narrator of "Dunyazadiad," as opposed to the role of the storytellers within the story. How are these functions distinct, and how do they overlap?

3. "Dunyazadiad" is described as a novella--as opposed to a novel or a short story. What does the novella form have in common with these other forms, and what makes it a form unto itself?

4. One reviewer of Chimera referred to Barth as a "narrative chauvinist pig." What exactly is meant by this, how does "Dunyazadiad" confirm this reference, and how does the novella confound it?