[ilds] The real behind the fictional people and situations

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 13 11:26:38 PDT 2007

Bill, great writers create fictional worlds in which we want to enter and share.  That doesn't make these worlds or characters real, and it's probably preferable that they're not.  That's why Durrell sat in his armchair in Sommieres, read books, and then wrote travel literature about travels in his imagination.


-----Original Message-----
>From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>Sent: Jun 13, 2007 10:17 AM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] The real behind the fictional people and situations
>I still call itfiction.  Lawrence Durrell, as Michael Haag shows, also took similarpains with representing the people and places of Alexandria.  Istill call that fiction.  This seems self-evident to me, but maybenot.
>writes Bruce.
>Yes, no matter what, fictional characters are merely words on paper orscreen. I wrote the following some years ago:
>     Literary characters aremerely words (or, to be precise, certain marks that some readersinterpret as words) in a certain order on a page or, nowadays, on acomputer screen. Clearly, literary characters do not have the sameontological status that we do. And yet we humans talk about literarycharacters as if they were living creatureswith volition, agency, and a full complement of human attributes.Borges can write, and we can understand:"Vanquished by reality, by Spain, Don Quixote died in his nativevillage in the year 1614. He was survived but a short time by Miguel deCervantes." We know that literary characters donot exist as humans exist, and yet we write about them as if they do. Howdo we account for this apparent double-think? 
>I realize that this paragraph does not exactly address Bruce'scomment, but it may add to the debate.

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