The fictionality of plays

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (3):263–273 (2002)
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The category of works of fiction is a very broad and heterogeneous one. I do have a general thesis in mind about such works, namely, that they themselves are fictional, in much the same way as are the fictional events or entities that they are about. But a defense of such a broad thesis would provide an intractably complex topic for an introductory essay, so I shall here confine myself to a presentation of a similar thesis for narrative theatrical works or plays, performances of which are naturally regarded as involving, or evoking, a “fictional world” whose fictional characters and events are what the work in question is about. Another reason for initially focusing on such narrative plays is because performances of them provide a rich source of epistemic issues about evidence for artistic authenticity or correctness of artworks, which will turn out to be of integral importance to my fictionalist account of plays.

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John Dilworth
Western Michigan University


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