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Adventures in fictionality: Sites along the border between fiction and reality

Rhona Trauvitch, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This project is a narratological study of the border between fiction and reality, and the traversing thereof. I postulate that the permeability of this border is the consequence of textual acts: Cataloged Fabulations, Second-tier Fictionals, and Rhizomatic Fabrications. These are akin to speech acts in that fictional entities gain nonfictional status by means of an implicit contract at the heart of the textual act. Having laid out the narratological foundation of the textual acts' power, I argue that the narratological bears on the ontological through performative speech acts, as portrayed in J. L. Austin's tripartite model.^ I use two lenses in my analysis: the work of Jorge Luis Borges and the Hebrew Bible and its commentaries. The Borgesian trifecta is encyclopedia, mirror, and labyrinth, referents that are synonymous with the three textual acts noted above. In terms of the biblical lens, my analysis focuses on a metaphor family in Jewish mysticism. This family includes the World as Book, The Torah as Blueprint, God as Author, and Letters as Building Blocks. The resulting conceptual system is narratological in nature. Consequently it is useful to draw on this system so as to elucidate the field of narratology. The binoculars offer a parallax view, which provides a unique perspective on narratology: the combination of modernist/postmodernist fantasy and the urtext of the Western literary canon.^ My aim is to further the conception of narratology into the crosshatched territory of literary theory and cultural studies.^

Subject Area

Comparative literature|Latin American literature|Biblical studies

Recommended Citation

Trauvitch, Rhona, "Adventures in fictionality: Sites along the border between fiction and reality" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3589200.