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)
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