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Literature and Moral UnderstandingA Philosophical Essay on Ethics, Aesthetics, Education, and Culture$
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Frank Palmer

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242321.001.0001

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Fiction Versus Fantasy, Pretence, and Make-Believe

Fiction Versus Fantasy, Pretence, and Make-Believe

(p.40) 2 Fiction Versus Fantasy, Pretence, and Make-Believe
Literature and Moral Understanding

Frank Palmer

Oxford University Press

Talk of fictional worlds is not a matter of positing ‘other worlds’ existing within or beyond the actual world, but a reflection of the shared currency of our experience of literary representation. Although such experience involves the reader's imagination, and not just some linguistic faculty, a particular fictional world is neither a mere figment of the imagination nor a property of verbal arrangements, but the result of a collusion between the work and those who have the capacities to respond to it. Interaction between the work and reader or spectator is itself only possible against the conventions and traditions of artistic representation, which is to say that the ‘ontology’ of fictional worlds is not a matter of logic and metaphysics but of shared participation in the public institutions of literary practice, which bears all sorts of relations to other forms of artistic practice.

Keywords:   fictional worlds, literary representation, imagination, fiction, fantasy, language-games, make-believe

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