Why Fiction?


Why Fiction?

Jean-Marie Schaeffer
Translated by Dorrit Cohn

Stages Series

384 pages
2 figures and 4 tables


July 2010


$60.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In Why Fiction?—one of the most important works of narrative theory to come out of France in recent years—Jean-Marie Schaeffer understands fiction not as a literary genre but, in contrast to all other literary theorists, as a genre of life. The result is arguably the first systematic refutation of Plato’s polemic against fiction and a persuasive argument for regarding fiction as having a cognitive function.
For Schaeffer fiction includes not only narrative fiction but also children’s games, videos, film, drama, certain kinds of painting, opera—in short, all the intentional structures arising from shared imaginative reality. Because video games and cyber-technologies are the new sites of entry for many children into such an imagined universe, studying these cyber-fictions has become integral to our understanding of fiction. Through these avenues, Schaeffer also explores the foundations of mimeticism in order to explain the important effect fiction has on human beings. His work thus establishes fiction as a universal aspect of human culture and offers a profound and resounding answer to the question: Why fiction?

Author Bio

Jean-Marie Schaeffer is the director of research at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique and is the author of several books in French. Dorrit Cohn, professor emerita of German and comparative literature at Harvard University, is the author of several books, including The Distinction of Fiction, and is the translator of Gérard Genette’s Essays in Aesthetics (Nebraska 2005).

Table of Contents

Introduction      000

Chapter 1. Who Is Afraid of Imitation?    000

Chapter 2. Mimesis: To Imitate, to Feign, to Represent, and to Know     000

Chapter 3. Fiction      000

Chapter 4. Some Fictional Devices   000

Conclusion  000

Notes 000

Bibliography      000

Index 000


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