Against the ubiquity of fictional narrators

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.
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DOI 10.1111/j.0021-8529.2005.00180.x
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George M. Wilson (1997). Le Grand Imagier Steps Out. Philosophical Topics 25 (1):295-318.

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