Three fallacies in interpreting literature

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There are three mistakes that are rather common in recent literary studies, the single context fallacy, the interactional fallacy and the non-referential fallacy, the first of which is particularly common in literary theory and literary pragmatics, the second in the theory and practice of literary interpretation and the third in the criticism of postmodern fiction. All three touch on central points in Roger Sell’s literary-pragmatic, communicational and mediating view of literature. When presenting them I shall speculate on what they are based on, why they are so prevalent, and how they are related and sometimes co-occur. Finally, I try to show that these widespread fallacies also have thwarted any efforts to construct a tenable pragmatics of literary interpretation.


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