Cambridge University Press (1990)
This important book provides a theory about the nature of fiction, and about the relation between the author, the reader and the fictional text. The approach is philosophical: that is to say, the author offers an account of key concepts such as fictional truth, fictional characters, and fiction itself. The book argues that the concept of fiction can be explained partly in terms of communicative intentions, partly in terms of a condition which excludes relations of counterfactual dependence between the world and the text. This communicative model is then applied to the following problems: how can something be 'true in the story' without being explicitly stated in the text? In what ways does interpreting a fictional story depend upon grasping its author's intentions? Is there always a unique best interpretation of a fictional text? What is the correct semantics for fictional names? What is the nature of our emotional response to a fictional work? In answering these questions the author explores the complex interaction between author, reader, and text. This interaction requires the reader to construct a 'fictional author' - a character in the story whose personality, beliefs and emotional states must be interpreted if the reader is to grasp the meaning of the work.