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The Semantic Complexity of Novelistic Fiction: The Expansion and Collapsing of Proust's Fictional Universe

Robert Olsen
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Vol. 25, No. 2, Possible Worlds and Literary Fictions (Summer 1991), pp. 177-195
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42945901
Page Count: 19
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The Semantic Complexity of Novelistic Fiction: The Expansion and Collapsing of Proust's Fictional Universe
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Abstract

To propose a model that adequately articulates the world of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu requires the adoption of a number of concepts developed in fictional semantics. Modifying and elaborating the model of change proposed by Georg von Wright, fictional-world theorists have proposed to examine the fictional world as a series of domains that may contain varying degrees of heterogeneity, historical development, and accessibility through the intensional world pictures composed by a number of potentially contradictory informers. Proust's novel exploits all of these, as the work's fictional world is organized into several domains, of which the hero has incomplete or uncertain knowledge and which threaten to disintegrate into a series of separate satellites without any secure fictional reference. The hero's epistemic quest, however, prevents this dissolution and eventually leads to the affirmation of a certifiable "reality" and of a "true art" which reveals it.

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