Coping with imaginative resistance

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Philosophers have argued there is a particular kind of jarring effect in certain types of narrative fiction that prevents readers from imaginative engagement and/or detracts from the author’s authority over what’s fictionally true. In this paper we argue that this so-called imaginative resistance effect does not usually prevent readers from engaging imaginatively, nor does it detract from the author’s authority over what’s fictionally true. We distinguish three possible interpretation strategies that readers can follow to overcome an initial resistance: Face Value, Character Perspective, and Narrator Accommodation. We flesh out the exact workings of the three strategies by integrating them into a general formal semantic framework for interpreting fiction.
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First archival date: 2020-08-28
Latest version: 2 (2021-05-02)
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