Document Type

Post-Print

Publication Date

Winter 2005

Abstract

In this paper I argue against the theory – popular among theorists of narrative artworks – that we must posit a fictional narrative agent in every narrative artwork in order to explain our imaginative engagement with such works. I accept that every narrative must have a narrator, but I argue that in some central literary cases the narrator is not a fictional agent, but rather the actual author of the work. My criticisms focus on the strongest argument for the ubiquity of fictional narrators, Jerrold Levinson’s ontological-gap argument. Finally, I outline an alternative “minimal theory” of narrators, and some consequences thereof.

Document Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1111/j.0021-8529.2005.00180.x

Publication Information

The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

Included in

Philosophy Commons

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