Performative Metafiction: Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler and The End of A Series of Unfortunate Events

Sara Austin


In “Performative Metafiction: Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler, and The End of A Series of Unfortunate Events,” Sara Austin looks at the metafictional aspect of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, with particular emphasis on the series’ final volume, The End. She explores the occasional uneasy relationship between the series narrator and “author,” Lemony Snicket, and the actual author, Daniel Handler. Handler’s entirely pseudonymous role in the publishing process creates a tension within the series’ narrative authority, raising issues that, often, adults do not trust children to understand. The popularity of the series, particularly in the United States, belies assumptions that children will neither understand nor enjoy books that raise more questions about the plot and characters than they answer, or that utterly fail to offer the “happily-ever-after” convention that so dominates the worlds of children’s publishing.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680