The Impossible Quest for Truth

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism book series (PSATLC)


Some readers still expect the novel to provide revelations, or truth, thinking perhaps that if art is not “truth,” it must be lies. But fiction cannot be associated with mendacity in the novel because it is storytelling that has no intention to deceive, and is not subject to truth valuations. This is because the novel is a space that disallows a quest for truth. Instead, we have the fictional pact, in which the writer deceives and the reader willingly accepts the deception by suspension of disbelief. This leads to the central reflection: How can readers be moved emotionally by something they know does not exist?


Storytelling Novel Fictional pact Suspension of disbelief 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NoumeaNew Caledonia

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