In her lecture on John Barth's collection of stories Lost in the Funhouse, Professor Amy Hungerford delves beyond the superficial pleasures and frustrations of Barth's oft-cited metafictional masterwork to illuminate the profound commitment to language that his narrative risks entail. Foremost among Barth's concerns, Hungerford argues, is the multi-faceted relationship between language and love. Desire can drive a narrative, or disrupt it. Language can create desire, or replace it. Unifying the virtuosic variety of his tales is Barth's inquiry: Does language always stand in for a loss of bodily presence? Must the written word always exist as the shadow of the oral?
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