Daily Archives: September 19, 2013

The Paradox of Narrative (415)

I think it was Justin who pointed out a perplexing passage on page 154 of The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Here Abbott gestures at some fairly dense ideas about the nature of representation and the status of “‘fictional truth'” (153). At the beginning of the section he notes that readers of fiction or audiences of feature films will sometimes praise a (verbal or visual) text as “true to life” or “so true.” Yet if the text in question is a fiction– if, in other words, it’s made up– how can it be true? Abbott argues that fiction’s “truth of meaning” is of a different order than the truth of fact. Put another way, truth and the facts don’t always coincide. Someone might, for example, hurt the one she loves, but is this the truth of her love? “Yes, I know that I yelled at you,” she might say. “This is a simple fact. But I love you. You know that. You know (the truth of) how I feel.”

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