A glass mountain sits in the middle of a city and at the top sits a 'beautiful, enchanted symbol'. Seeking to disenchant it, the narrator must climb the mountain. Confronted by the jeers of acquaintances, the bodies of previous climbers and the claws of a guarding eagle he, slowly, begins to ascend. In true postmodernist form, subject and purpose collide as Donald Barthelme uses one-hundred fragmented statements to destabilise a symbol of his own - literature's conventional forms and practices. With a quest, a princess and an array of knights, Barthelme subverts that most traditional of genres, the fairy-tale, irony, absurdity, and playful self-reflexivity are the champions of this short story.
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