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.
Kania, A. (2005). Against the ubiquity of fictional narrators. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 63(1), 47-54. doi:10.1111/j.0021-8529.2005.00180.x
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism