The Practice of Story-Telling

Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen

in Truth, Fiction, and Literature

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236818
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679377 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

The Practice of Story-Telling

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This chapter argues that some constraint on content is required for a work (or a story) to be fictional. The content must originate in a fictive utterance, not only in the sense that it is characterized by fictive descriptions (those conforming to the conventions of utterance and response) but also that those descriptions determine the nature of the content, what it is about, what inferences can be drawn from it, and so forth. When modern story-tellers appropriate the ancient Greek myths and make fictions of them, the reason that new works are thereby created is that the content in this retelling now becomes dependent on the modes of its characterization in a way that could not have been true of the original, assuming the original to be non-fictional. What this case shows is that truth, even accidental truth, is not at the heart of the fiction/non-fiction distinction.

Keywords: fiction; truth; storytelling; non-fiction

Chapter.  9793 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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