Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2005


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)


Publication Information

The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

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Philosophy Commons