This book identifies and discusses the features that give fictional narratives their ring of truth, testing the author's theories against the works of Austen, Dickens, Balzac, James, Proust, and others.
"All literary genres are artifacts", writes Michael Riffaterre, "but none more blatantly so than fiction. Its very name declares its artificiality, and yet it must somehow be true to hold the interest of its readers, to tell them about experiences at once imaginary and relevant to their own lives. This paradox of truth in fiction is the problem for which I propose to seek a solution." In "Fictional Truth" Riffaterre identifies and discusses the features that give fictional narratives their ring of truth. He offers a semiotic revision of traditional narratology, sets forth a new theory of intertextual overdetermination, and presents an analysis of the manifestation of narrative content through the operations of an intertextual unconscious. Throughout, Riffaterre tests theory against close readings of fiction by such authors as Austen, Balzac, Dickens, James, Meredith, Proust, and Trollope. An introduction and glossary of terms help make this an indispensable volume for the students as well as the specialist.
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It almost goes without saying that a new book by Michael Riffaterre is an important book... and Fictional Truth does not disappoint... Essential reading for everyone interested in the way narrative works. Modern Fiction Studies There is no doubt that this book is indispensable not only for critics and students of the novel but for anyone who has considered the paradox of 'fictional truth. Queen's Quarterly
Fictional Truth by Michael Riffaterre
Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
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Johns Hopkins University Press
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