Fact and fiction

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Building on an unified approach to literary and the everyday, written and oral (or otherwise performed) narrative, this chapter gets its bearings from a hermeneutic notion of narrative as a psychologically fundamental practice of human meaning construction, a practice that cuts across the putative divide between fiction and nonfiction. The argument put forward is that at the base of both literary and everyday processes of narrative meaning construction we find the same interpretive operations. These fundamental processes of human understanding and intersubjectivity are less shaped by epistemological or even ontological distinctions such as “fact” and “fiction” but first of all by a shared cultural canon of narrative conventions. To explore this argument in the contexts of narratological and philosophical discussions, I examine a slightly unusual narrative – unfolded in a letter by a person who considers suicide – in light of the narrative hermeneutics outlined in this chapter


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