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Fictional Anxieties

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Chapter Summary

"The genre: novels proper and the fringe" is the title of Niklas Holzberg's helpful survey in a standard handbook. The Life of Aesop a text which is attracting more and more attention, might be thought to be one such misused narrative. This chapter explains "truth" and historicity, an anxiety which is reflected in literary story-telling at all levels, central and fringe, throughout antiquity. The effect of story-telling within novels (whether ancient or modern) always depends upon the social and generic conventions which operate within a particular literary tradition. The novels of such as Garcia Marquez, Peter Carey and Salman Rushdie, for example, are filled with "stories", told both by the "fictional characters" of the works and in the voice of the narrator, whose "truth status" is problematic, and indeed problematised, within the whole fictional structure which constitutes the work.

Keywords: Fictional characters; Life of Aesop; Niklas Holzberg



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