Fictional Realities

The uses of literary imagination

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This book is a study of the role of the imagination. It focuses on the imaginative use of language in literature (poetry and narrative prose); but it also touches on some more comprehensive issues, for the questions it discusses are questions regarding the relationship between mind, reality and unreality. The first two chapters survey the thinking about the imagination in the history of philosophy. The main trends and the main problems are discussed, particularly in respect of the (positive or negative) evaluation of imagination. The subsequent chapters investigate the role of the imagination from a closer point of view. How is it that imagination appears in literary art? Central topics of discussion are the nature of narrativity, of fictional discourse and fictional objects, of realistic fiction, of symbolism and metaphor. Moreover, the similarities (both real and imagined) between literature and the other arts are explored. In all chapters attention is paid to the problem of the value of art and literary imagination. The last chapter addresses this issue head-on. In particular, it attempts to define the value of literature in relation to science.

Subjects: Comparative literature & literary studies

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Groningen

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