“The Poet, He Nothing Affirms, and Therefore Never Lieth”? An Analysis of the Editorial Fiction

Eva-Maria Konrad

Abstract


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 discusses 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.