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I need help with a bit of phrasing, index-wise. A bit of necessary background: at one point in the book, I discuss at length the various pronouncements of the death of the novel. These are indexed as:

death of the novel, pronouncements

Where I discuss the purposes that such pronouncements serve (the key turn in my argument), I’ve indexed them as:

death of the novel, pronouncements, function of

Various things that are blamed in such pronouncements for having killed off the novel are indexed as:

death of the novel, causes

Now I need to index my discussion of John Barth’s claim, in “The Literature of Exhaustion,” that “Whether historically the novel expires or persists seems immaterial to me; if enough writers and critics feel apocalyptical about it, their feeling becomes a considerable cultural fact…” How would you characterize that? What’s coming to mind is

death of the novel, irrelevance of

but that’s not exactly right. “Immateriality of” also totally misses the mark. What the discussion focuses on is the fact that, for Barth, at least, the actual death of the novel is less important than the sense that the novel has died; “irrelevance of” makes it sound like the imagined death wouldn’t matter, either. “Actual irrelevance of”? “Irrelevance of reality of”? “Imaginary importance of”? “Feeling as creator of”?

Ack! Help, expression of the need for!

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