Fiktionales Erzählen. Zur Theorie der literarischen Fiktion als Make-Believe

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

10334 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of the study is to develop an integrative theoretical model of fictional narrative. The make-believe theory of Kendall L. Walton, which explains fiction as a family resemblance of all representational arts, is adopted in order to explain the fictionality of fictional narrative. In the first part of the study, Kendall Walton’s make-believe theory is critically examined. In part two, major issues of theories of fiction are discussed, such as the relation of fiction to reality and truth. The adopted make- believe model is contrasted with alternative theories of fiction, both for theories of fiction in representational arts as well as theories dealing specifically with fictionality in narrative literature. In part three, an integrative theoretical model of fictional narrative is proposed. Fictional narrative is defined by making it at least implicitly fictionally true that it is narrated or mediated, even in cases where no teller-figure can be traced at the surface level of the text. The model is explained as ‘mimesis of narrating’, since it is not the mimesis of any specific world or reality that is the prevailing characteristic of fictional narrative, but rather the mimesis of the act of narrating. In addition, several potentially fictionality-specific narratological categories are examined. The study shows that unreliable narration, metalepsis, metanarration and mise en abyme are narratological categories which can appear in both fictional and non-fictional narratives and can therefore not be regarded as fiction- specific devices. The only fiction-specific category that was examined is metafiction.
Original languageGerman
Awarding Institution
  • German
  • Platen, Edgar, Supervisor, External person
Award date2001 May 12
ISBN (Print)978-91-7346-605-9
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2001-05-12
Time: 10:00
Place: Gamla Hovrätten, Göteborgs universitet, Sal T302

External reviewer(s)

Name: Westphal, Bärbel
Title: fil dr
Affiliation: Växjö universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature

Free keywords

  • implied narrator.
  • mise en abyme
  • metalepsis
  • theory of
  • fiction
  • fictionality
  • signposts of
  • narratology
  • Walton
  • Kendall L.
  • mimesis
  • make-believe
  • implied author
  • unreliable narration
  • metafiction
  • metanarration
  • theories of

Cite this