Decoding House of Leaves (haleyalxnder & zguang)

Hemmingson, Michael. “What’s beneath the Floorboards: Three Competing Metavoices in the Footnotes of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 52.3 (2011): 272-87.

This article analyzes how the novel’s footnotes function as three different narrative voices competing for the reader’s attention: Truant’s, Zampano’s, and the nameless “editors” of the published book. It explains how these voices interact in the novel to create a work of Avant-pop critifiction, and how a full exploration of these footnotes are crucial to fully understanding the statements the novel is making, which includes its own theory and meta-criticism. This article is therefore extremely useful in understanding the ways in which the novel engages the reader and has the reader interact with its references, some of which take the reader to the Internet sphere, and therefore how the online communities dedicated to “de-coding” the novel are perhaps also an inevitable, and necessary, part of the novel itself.

McCaffery, Larry, and Sinda Gregory. “Haunted House—An Interview with Mark Z. Danielewski.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 44.2 (2003): 99-135.

In this interview, the author discusses his thoughts on the background, authenticity, and meaning behind House of Leaves. Since the novel contains a variety of visual details with multiple narratives, many readers continually ask for the true interpretation of the novel. The author simply responds that the thrill of uncovering a private meaning is far better than revealing everything outright. He also notes how there really is no sacred text, stating that everything we encounter involves some interpretation. In any discussion of House of Leaves, interpretation is a key element to consider. Not only does this source reveal the author’s original intention but it also grounds the reader in understanding the novel’s page-long footnotes and its confusing interplay of font, color, and space.

Pressman, Jessica. “House of Leaves: Reading the Networked Novel.” Studies in American Fiction 34.1 (2006): 107-28.

This article examines the relationship between House of Leaves and the age in which it was born: the digital age at the turn of the millennium. The author discusses how the novel inserts itself into a multimedia network that collectively makes up its narrative, through other texts, the novel’s website, and the musical album recorded by the author’s sister. This reading also details how the novel links itself with the contemporary “discourse network” of the Internet, directly tying itself to the topic of House of Leaves’ online fan base. It therefore is very useful in understanding the novel’s full impact on the reader through a range of multimedia methods, and how each of these gives a new layer to the narrative to create an interactive experience depicting “the digital context from which it emerges” (Pressman, pg. 122).


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