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Fictional characters, transparency, and experiential sharing

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

How can providing less textual information about a fictional character make his or her mind more transparent and accessible to the reader? This is the question that emerges from an empirical study of reader response conducted by Kotovych et al. Taking my cue from this study, I discuss the role of implied information in readersU+2019 interactions with characters in prose fiction. This is the textual strategy I call U+2018character-centered implicature.U+2019 I argue that the inferential work cued by implicature creates an intersubjective dynamic analogous to what philosophers Zahavi and Rochat discuss under the heading of U+2018experiential sharing.U+2019 Effectively, readers complement the textual evocation of mind by drawing on their own past experiences, which leads to a distinctive first-person plural (U+2018weU+2019) perspectiveU+2014a sharing of cognitive resources that is responsible for the perceived transparency of the characterU+2019s mind. While this experiential sharing may result in empathetic perspective-taking, not all instances of empathy for fictional characters involve sharing.
ISSN: 1572-8749
Issue: 4
Volume: 39
Pagina's: 811 - 817
Jaar van publicatie:2020