As we enter a new literary period succeeding postmodernism, the models and methods of our theories are called into question vis-à-vis their ability to effectively frame the formal features describing contemporary literary narratives. The article surveys current discussions of contemporary fiction and explores some of its emerging features, such as the shift from an ironic to a sincere mode and the drawing of attention to the materiality of the novel. As the context of the new digital media ecology in which the post-postmodern novel appears becomes more and more interrelated with its emerging features, the present essay argues that to better define this interrelation we can rely on the rhetorical approach to narrative and, in particular, on James Phelan’s (2011 James Phelan’s (2014) model of narrative communication. On the other hand, for this model to provide a fruitful analytic tool, we need to consider digital epitexts among the resources at an author’s disposal to generate certain responses in readers. The article concludes with some considerations on the synergetic use of textual and digital resources to show how the rhetorical choice not to use a certain resource sometimes can be more revealing than using one.

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