“The Poet, he nothing affirms, and therefore never lieth”? : An analysis of editorial fiction

Is the editorial fiction a possible challenge to Sir Philip Sidney’s famous defence of the poets? Predicated on an assertion-based definition of lying, this paper dis-cusses two historically consecutive versions of this phenomenon: A closer analysis of Gérard Genette’s category of the disavowing authentic authorial preface reveals that Genette’s arguments cannot defend editorial fictions written by ‘author-editors’ against accusations of lying. Rather, this first version of editorial fictions occasionally embodies lies for which the authors are to be held accountable. Editorial fictions written by ‘character-editors’, in contrast, do not meet the conditions of the assertion-based account of lying with the result that, in this case, neither the author nor the ‘character-editor’ can be accused of lying.


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