Du musst dran glauben. Von der Literatur der Lüge zur Lüge der Literatur


  • Jochen Mecke


The article discusses the relationship between literature and lying on the basis of a neutral definition of lying. The article argues that literature itself is primarily not capable of lying, because it uncovers its own fictional ‘lies’ and presupposes a ‘pact of fiction’ implying the suspension of disbelief. Focusing on the theory of unreliable and lying narrators, the article analyses several types of lies ‘with’ and ‘in’ literature, tackling the question of the existence of specific literary lies. Thus, examination of the homodiegetic narrator of the novel Lazarillo de Tormes points to the possibility of a literary lie, whereas the case of a lying heterodiegetic narrator suggests a modification of the general theory of lying through consideration of the aesthetic dimension of lies.