You are on page 1of 25

Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics

Possible Worlds and Accessibility Relations: A Semantic Typoloty of Fiction Author(s): Marie-Laure Ryan Reviewed work(s): Source: Poetics Today, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 553-576 Published by: Duke University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1772651 . Accessed: 04/04/2012 13:29
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Duke University Press and Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Poetics Today.

http://www.jstor.org

PossibleWorlds and Accessibility Relations: A SemanticTypologyof Fiction
Marie-Laure Ryan

In recent years the semantics of possible worlds and literary theory have enjoyed a promising cross-fertilization. While philosophers have invoked the concepts of "book" and of "story" to explain what a possible world is (Adams 1979 [1974]; Plantinga 1979 [1976]), literary theorists (among them Dolezel 1976; Vaina 1977; Eco 1979; Maitre 1983; Pavel 1986) have developed a textual semantics based on the idea that the semantic domain projected by the literary text is a nonactual possible world or an alternative possible world (henceforth abbreviated as APW). This assimilation satisfies our intuition that a text of literary fiction refers to nonexisting objects located in imaginary worlds, but the question of the possibility of these worlds remains problematic, since "everything goes" in a fiction. If everything goes, there is no such thing as an impossible world, and the use of the conceptual framework of possible-worlds semantics in literary theory becomes rather superficial. To avoid this trivialization we must address the question of what makes a world possible by exploring the various types of accessibility relations through which APWS may be linked to the actual world or AW.The purpose of this paper is to develop the concept of "accessibility relation" into a system of semantic classifications which should be relevant to the question of genre. Fictionand Possible Worlds: A Definition The formal basis of the theory of possible worlds has been defined by Saul Kripke (1963: 84) as "an ordered triple (G, K, R) where K is
Poetics Today 12:3 (Fall 1991). Copyright ? 1991 by The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics. ccc 0333-5372/91/$2.50.

. and create through further mental acts a network of alternative possible worlds around the new center. But if all texts project a system of worlds. In another of David Lewis (1979 [1973])-the actual world is definition-that we inhabit." "you. plans. dreams. wishes. The semantic domain of the text is not an individual world in a modal system."While in the first definition only one world may be called actual. a modal universe.. some are presented as actual and others as possible or counterfactual. the actual world exists objectively.554 Poetics Today 12:3 a set [of objects]. how can the difference between fiction and nonfiction be characterized in the framework of possible-worlds theory? My answer to this question is rooted in the definition of the distinction between the AWand its alternatives. fantasizing. relation" defined over the members of K. The mental representations produced by the characters (beliefs. fantasies. the fictional text refers to a non-actual possible world. This difference has been viewed in two ways." G is one of the objects belonging to K. In the most widespread and intuitive application of this model to literary semantics. and "R is a . In one definition (Rescher 1979 [1973]). This characterization misses. and it constitutes the fundamental gesture of narrative fiction." "here. Among the facts described by the text. select another world as actual. obligations. can be replaced by the folthe fallacious equation of fiction with APWS ." and "now. but is itself a system of worlds centered on what I shall call "the textual actual world" (henceforth abbreviated as TAW). the opposition between the AWand its alternatives is regarded as constitutive of the distinction between fiction and nonfiction: while the nonfiction text describes the actual world. An interesting consequence of Lewis's position is that the on any of its planets and total universe of possibilities can be recentered thus contains an infinite number of different systems of reality. and forming beliefs or projections. the sense in which the opposition actual/non-actual is itself internalized within the semantic domain. as are the world simply the expressions "I. that is.' G [as] the [actual] world. This recentering occurs in dreams as well as in children's games of make-believe." and R as the relation of relative possibility or accessibility. and the term "actual"is indexical. we can through certain mental acts depart from this world. Kripke interprets K as "the set of all 'possible worlds. in the second definition every possible world is the actual one from the point of view of its inhabitants. whether fictional or not. and literary productions) function as the APWS of the textual system of reality. however. While it may be objectively the case that only one world exists independently of the human mind. produced by such activities as dreaming. If the gesture of recentering is indeed constitutive of fictionality. while APWs are constructs of the mind.

At the center of this universe is the TAW.they behave as if the foreign world at the center of the textual universe existed independently of the text. The TAW may either accurately reflect or misrepresent the AW. The distinction above. The implied speaker is the individual who fulfills the felicity conditions of the textual speech acts. The three types of actual worlds open up the possibility of three types of divorce. and as if it were the actual one. And just as the textual universe is offered as an image of the referential universe.The text may be presented either as a representation of the AWor as the image of an APW made actual through a recentering patible with the TRW. the textual reference world. which is assumed (really or in make-believe) to exist independently of the TAW. which I shall call the referential universe. the TAW is proposed as an accurate representation of an entity external to itself. 5. Every text projects a universe. There is only one AW. abbreviated as TRW. The TAW is offered as the accurate image of a world. The TAW may or may not be similar to the AW. the world it is supposed to represent. Every text has an implied speaker. 2. the world formed by the facts presented as actual. The sender (author) of a text is always located in the AW. And finally. 4. The concept of fictional recentering presupposes a distinction among three modal systems and among three distinct actual worlds. The duplicity inherent to the fictional game reconciles the conflicting doctrines of Rescher and Lewis: while sender and hearer know that there is only one AW. opens up a fourth possible divorce: either the sender stands behind the implied speaker and accepts responsibility for his claims or their respective beliefs differ and the actual sender dissociates him(TRW 0 AW). The implied speaker of the text is always located in the TRW. fictional ones refer to a system whose actual world is. the TAWmay be either compatible or incom- . the sum of the worlds projected by the text. the textual universe must be distinguished from the system it represents. 7. an APW. 6. As a representation proposed by the text. At the center of this system is the TAW. 3. or TRW. The following axioms concerning the three types of actual worlds provide the basis for a possible-worlds definition of fictionality: 1. The first is our native system.The second system is the textual universe. from an absolute point of view.Ryan * Possible Worlds 555 lowing generalization: nonfictional texts describe a system of reality whose center is occupied by the actual world (AW). between an actual sender (AS) and an implied speaker (Is). centered in the Aw.

The difference between errors and lies resides in the duplicity of the sender. through which an APW is placed at the center of the conceptual universe. These four distinctions generate the classification of mimetic discourse shown in Table 1. and this actual world. which functions as the world of reference. the TRW. This alternate possible world becomes the world of reference. since the TRW does not exist indepen- thus becomes indistinguishable dently of its representation. Since the sender is unaware of this divorce. Error differs from the unmarked case through the divorce between the facts of the AW/TRW and their textual representation. is correctly represented. The worldimage produced by the text differs from the Aw-except in the genre of true fiction.556 Poetics Today 12:3 Table 1. (By mimetic discourse I mean utterances that describe particular facts. and are intended to be judged true or false in a world external to themselves. either privately or publicly. covertly playing the role of the keeps implied speaker.) The first combination expresses the unmarked case of sincere and truthful mimetic discourse. This phenomenon-which makes the concepts . The sender presents the text as a representation of the actual world. The TAW from its own referent. The sender is and their representaaware of the conflict between the facts of the AW conflict but he the hidden. The Modesof MimeticDiscourse TAW = AW AW = TRW TAW = TRW AS = IS Nonfictional accurate discourse Errors Lies Fiction True fiction AW = the actual world + -+ -+ + + - + + + + + TAW= the textual actual world TRW= the textual reference world AS = the actual sender (author) is = the implied speaker (narrator) self. make singular existential claims. Fiction is characterized by the open gesture of recentering. tion. he shares the beliefs of the implied speaker. from the implied speaker. to be discussed below-but it accurately reflects its own world of reference. expressed by a minus sign in the fourth column.

the only necessary propositions are mathematical truths ("Two plus two makes four") and analytic statements ("Bachelors are unmarried"). or postmodernist fiction may liberate their universes from the prin- . In Kripke's semantic model. "Napoleon did and did not die on St. a world in which Napoleon dies on St. however.. and not both at the same time).g. a temporary member of the recentered system. The "fictional pact" is concluded when the reader (hearer) becomes. "Nuclear war cannot be avoided") is true in W if p is true in all possible worlds W' accessible from W. they usually interpret the accessibility relation as a logical one. in make-believe. "Bachelors are unmarried". It is obvious. and to gain an audience. the theater of the absurd. According to Kripke. that the logical interpretation of the accessibility relation is not sufficient for a theory of fictional genres. under a logical interpretation of possibility. surrealistic poems. Helena. According to the strictly logical definition of possibility. It can be argued that. "Nuclear war can be avoided") is true in a world W if there is at least one possible world W'. A world is possible in a system of reality if it is accessible from the world at the center of that system. A sentence expressing the necessity of a proposition p (e. The relocation of the sender of the fictional text to a new actual world necessitates the sacrifice of his identity. When philosophers speak of possible worlds." But there is nothing inconsistent about either of these facts taken individually. he steps into the role of narrator.. Texts such as nonsense rhymes. thus shifting his attention from the AWto the TAW/ TRW. AccessibilityRelations The original purpose of the possible-worlds concept was the definition of truth conditions for the modal operators of necessity and possibility.g. A world is possible if it satisfies the logical laws of noncontradiction and of the excluded middle: (p OR -p) AND NOT (p AND -p) (A proposition must be true or false. he extends to the hearer an invitation to follow him on his relocation. "possibility" is the concrete interpretation of what is meant formally by accessibility. and each has been verified in some logically possible world (the second one in a drama by the German expressionist playwright Georg Kayser). a sentence expressing the possibility of a proposition p (e.Ryan * Possible Worlds 557 TAW and TRWinterchangeable when discussing fiction-explains the fashionable doctrine of self-referentiality of the literary text. To become a citizen of the recentered system. Or rather. possibility and accessibility are equivalent concepts. such that W' is accessible from W and p is true in W. Helena and successfully escapes to New Orleans is not possible since it entails.

own to its TAW the of the relations (2) the intra-universe domain linking alternatives.by which the TAW'S ventory would be a subset of the Aw'sinventory. Compatibility of inventory (C/expanded inventory): sible from AW if acces- inventory includes all the members of AW. while intra-universe relations make it possible for the members of the TAW to travel mentally within their own system of reality. TAW is TAW'S C. In the following discussion. we automatically assume that this city represents all the properties of the real-world Paris. Some of these will be looser than the logical laws allow. two domains of transworld relations should be distinguished: (1) the and trans-universe domain of the relations linking the AWto the TAW. I will but the conceptual repertory mainly focus on the relations AW/TAW. In decreasing order of stringency. unless these properties are explicitly denied by the text. given the information provided by the text. The reason lies in an interpretive principle which I take to be constitutive of fictional communication: the principle of minimal departure (Lewis 1978. This principle states that we reconstrue the world of a fiction as being the closest possible to the AW. If we want to avoid the embarrassment of speaking about the impossible possible worlds of fiction. others more constrained: in historical novels. These closer relations determine the semantic difference between the historical-novel genre and other types of texts obeying the law of noncontradiction. while the relations of the second determine the internal configuration of the textual universe. Identity of inventory (B/same inventory): TAW is accessible from AW if TAW and AW are furnished by the same objects. If the fictional text mentions a city named Paris.558 Poetics Today 12:3 ciple of noncontradiction. the relevant types of accessibility include relations from the AWinvolved in the construction of the TAW the following: A. . not just an isolated planet. for instance. Since a text projects a complete universe. we must accept a much wider range of accessibility relations. Ryan 1980). which describes trans-universe relations may also be applied to the intra-universe domain. the TAW entertains much closer relations to the AWthan the relation of logical compatibility. but this relation is not productive in the semantics of fiction. as well as some native members. such as fairy tales and science fiction. or would intersect with it.1 in1. B. Identity of properties (abbreviated as A/properties): TAW is accessible from AWif the objects common to TAW and AWhave the same properties. Or. to put it another way: trans-universe relations function as the airline through which the sender reaches the world at the center of the textual universe. The relations of the first domain determine the degree of resemblance between the textual system and our own system of reality. One could think of an inverse relation of compatibility.

Ryan * Possible Worlds 559 D. Another example of intersection between the populations of the AWand the TAW is the rather strange case of 1984. has Napoleon. if objects designated by the same words have the same essential properties. and the species are characterized by the same properties. 2. (F usually follows from E. Helena.) is accessible from AW E. Analytical compatibility (H/analytical): TAW is accessible from AW if they share analytic truths. it takes a relocation beyond the time of their occurrence to regard as facts those events located in the future. If their APWS differed. since their APWSoriginate in actual mental events.e. to be discussed below. Excluding a single historical individual from the TAWwould amount to postulating a gratuitous departure from the AW. Chronological compatibility (D/chronology): TAWis accessible from AWif it takes no temporal relocation for a member of AW to contemplate the entire history of TAW. A combination of the relations "A/properties" and "B/same inventory" (which between them entail all other relations) makes the textual universe similar on all points to our own system of reality. similarly. but since the future holds projections rather than facts.e. Logical compatibility (G/logic): TAW is accessible from AWif both worlds respect the principles of noncontradiction and of excluded middle. (This condition means that TAW is not older than AW.2 Absolute If the TAWhas Paris. its And. If two systems have identical actual worlds. and so would their actual worlds. i. Linguistic compatibility (//linguistic): TAW is accessible from AWif the language by which TAW is described can be understood in AW. Physical compatibility (E/natural laws): TAW if they share natural laws..i. For instance. a work of historical confabulation might describe Napoleon as remaining married to Josephine until his death on St. by a law of geographic solidarity it must have France. Taxonomic compatibility (F/taxonomy): TAW is accessible from AW if both worlds contain the same species. MarieLouise. so would the mental acts. but some divorces of taxonomic and physical compatibility do occur and will be discussed below. if it has France. its present is not posterior in absolute time to AW'spresent. I. H. We can contemplate facts of the past from the viewpoint of the present. it must have the geography of the entire world. they are identical as a whole.. . if the TAW inventory is implicitly composed of all the individuals who ever lived in the AW.The only case in which the inventory of the TAW could exclude certain historical individuals is where the existence of these individuals would be incompatible with the facts asserted in the text. In this case the inventory of the TAW would not include the legitimate son of Napoleon by his second wife.) G. F. The following discussion of genre and accessibility relations is summarized in Table 2. to which may be added the locations native to the TAW.

he will complete his representation of reality on the basis of the new information he gathers from the text. . such as works of history. The invitation to use the text in such a way is what makes the AWthe referent of the TAW. journalism. the concept of time loses any meaning. F = A = identity of properties G = B = identity of inventory H = C = compatibility of inventory I = = D chronological compatibility E = physical compatibility compatibility with reality is. of course. Genre and Accessibility Relations A Accurate nonfiction True fiction Realistic & historical fiction Historical confabulation Realistic ahistorical fiction Anticipation Science fiction Fairy tale Legend Fantastic realism Nonsense rhymes Jabberwockyism Concrete poetry +t +- B + +- C + + D + + E +- F + + + G + + H + + I ++ + - -- ? + + + + -+ * --? + ++t + +I + + +- -- + - + + ++ +- +1*C - +1-+ +/+ + ? + +- - - +f- + - +1* - -I- I+ + + - -- # G: when the laws of logic no longer taxonomic compatibility logical compatibility analytical compatibility linguistic compatibility *: nonapplicable because of a "-" on C #: nonapplicable because of a "-" or "?" on hold.560 Poetics Today 12:3 Table 2. and that relations A and B obtain. the ideal of nonfictional texts presented for the sake of information. If the receiver decides that the sender's intent is informational. and biography.

the world he selects as the center of the fictional universe differs from the actual world in that the intent and act of producing a fiction is a fact of the latter but not of the former.e. we find a much closer adherence to it. The difference between nonfiction and true fiction is that the former claims to represent reality from but almost like AW. in the journalistic practice exemplified by the Ralphitself (TRW = AW). (The best-known example of this genre is Truman Capote's In ColdBlood. the real world differs from the world of make-believe through the presence of children playing that very game. This seems not only pointless. but it completes this information with undocumented dialogues and reports of private thoughts which could conceivably have occurred as described. for instance.. and "nonfiction novels" exclude a strict application of principle A/ properties. a fictional universe may be deliberately conceived and presented as an accurate image of reality. that is. stories about true facts which use the techniques of narrative fiction. without compromising the credibility of the author. In a nonfictional text. Fictional universes always differ by at least one property from our own system of reality: even if the sender of the fictional text pretends that everything is exactly the way it is. these details would have to be presented in a hypothetical mode. but also impossible. romantic biographies. however. (Similarly. dramatized history. at the expense of B/ same inventory. a fictional text may offer an exact reproduction of reality. The textual world is epistemically accessible from the real world. While the undocumented facts of romanced lives. But as the increasing popularity of what I shall call "true fiction" indicates.) On all points other than its own existence as fiction. True fiction includes such mimetic practices as dramatized history.) True fiction exploits the informational gaps in our knowledge of reality by filling them with unverified but credible facts for which the author takes no responsibility (as would be the case in historiography). Novelists are aware of the possibility when they warn the reader that any resemblance to actual individuals and events should be regarded as purely fortuitous. insofar as everything we know about reality can be integrated to it. and therefore. The point of presenting the text as a fiction is that unverifiable facts can be directly asserted for the TAW without being asserted for the AW. on all points. when children pretend that everything is the way it is. the narration respects all available historical information about the hero.Ryan * Possible Worlds 561 Can the relations A/properties and B/same inventory hold in fiction as well? This would imply that the sender of the text recenters the system of reality in a world which is." i. while the latter represents a world (TRW) distinct . as true of some set of possible worlds to which the real world may or may not belong. In a romanced life. and what has paradoxically come to be known as "nonfiction novels. similar to AW.

When A/ properties and C/expanded inventory are respected. but maintain B/same inventory. since all valid statements about the textual universe must be compatible with them. are indeterminate in the AW concerning individuals specific to the TAW two-value in a false. Sherlock Holmes. In these texts all the facts are (ideally) verified. The TAW the AW(Natasha. or The French Lieutenant'sWoman:A/properties are maintained as far as logically possible. In a genre that one might call historical confabulation. A/properties are much more openly transgressed than in the preceding class. . but B/same inventory is replaced by C/expanded invencontains some individuals who have no counterpart in tory." The converse of such cases is illustrated by realistic and historical novels. A and C make the AWa subset of the TAW: but propositions true propositions in the AWare also true in the TAW. Since the speech act is imaginary. If we relax A/properties. the Sherlock Holmes stories.but involve the relocation that constitutes fictionality.) Other examples of this genre of true fiction are Plato's dialogues and Rousseau's Prosopopee de Fabricius in Discourssur les lettres et les arts. The properties of the common members are the same for both worlds: the London of Sherlock Holmes is the capital of England. this combination of accessibility relations is exemplified by the sensationalist stories of tabloids: "President Truman Inspected UFO Crash in 1947. Fabricius). Wanda) or because he never actually uttered the words attributed to him (Socrates. Sarah Woodruff). Logically speaking.562 Poetics Today 12:3 and-Wanda dialogues of Time magazine. these texts are not uttered from within the AW. In the nonfictional domain. but they play an oblique role in assessing the truth-value of interpretations. These facts may not be directly relevant to the plot of the novel. The Napoleon of Warand Peace was born in Corsica in 1769. and he has (had) twelve brothers and sisters. but the speech act through which they are presented is imaginary. but otherwise presents the same inventory and the same geography as those of the AW at the same point in time. the son of Charles Bonaparte and Laetitia Ramolino. we get imaginary stories about real people. such as War and Peace. (Ralph and Wanda are an imaginary couple who report and discuss the latest theories of sexual behavior. the real London of the late nineteenth century does all not. An example of this category is the legend of George Washington and the cherry tree. the only difference between the members of the AWand their counterparts in the TAW resides in their interactions with the members native to the TAW: the London of Sherlock Holmes has the property of a resident named Sherlock Holmes. (or system). either because the speaker does not belong to the inventory of the actual world (Ralph. and the names of its streets are identical to those of the real London.

In this situation. For the demonstration to be convincing. unusual combination of relations creates the eerie atmosphere of the taxonomically ordinary yet absolutely foreign world of Kafka's novels The Trial and The Castle. given its present state and past history. In science fiction proper. but all others may be severed. the focus is on the changes brought about by technological advances. depending on which other relations are maintained. all relations other than B/same inventory and D/chronology must be in force.but the representatives of the classes are different individuals. Hitler wins the war. Once again. at approximately the time of this historical split. Margaret Thatcher does not exist in the TAW of 1984. relations E/natural laws. the novel illustrates the rare case of an intersection between the AW'S and the TAW'S populations. then branches toward Margaret Thatcher in one world and Big Brother in the other.) The London of Orwell's 1984 once had a king named George VI. The laws of nature are in force. could be maintained. however. King Louis XIII. lifting rule D is no longer necessary to contemplate a world dated 1984. None of the This rather proper names used in the AWhas reference in the TAW. the jewelry she had received as a present from her husband. and the TAW is populated by the same kinds of objects as the AW. . and was once involved in a war against Hitler. G/logical. When C/expanded inventory no longer holds. the inventory of the TAW but the properties of the common members differ in ways not necessarily arising from their involvement with non-common members: Napoleon escapes to New Orleans. the TAW cal and historical no-man's-land. But from Orwell's point of view. from D/chronois located in a geographilogical on. (B. An interesting problem occurs when AW. but a strange breed of imaginary history.Ryan * Possible Worlds 563 includes the inventory of the AW. F/taxonomic. The point of anticipation novels is to show what may become of the actual world. in fact. From today's point of view. Severing the relation D/chronology results in either anticipation novels or science fiction. H/analytical. The history of England follows a common course in the AW and the TAW up to 1950. and neither does any other inhabitant of the post-1950 AW. a prime minister named Churchill. some propositions will be true in the TAW and false in the AWeven under a three-value system. Strictly speaking. but. and Anne of Austria foolishly gives her lover. and I/linguistic will be maintained. 1984 is no longer anticipation. and it does not explicitly eliminate any historical character known at the time of the writing. the AW's population was a subset of the TAW'S. The TAW will then contain the same classes of objects as the but not the same individuals. The novel was composed around 1950. Since technology must respect mathematical and natural laws. all other relations still do. the Duke of Buckingham.For the contemporary reader.

and princesses. In this case. optionally. Yet these ordinary people can walk across walls or discover one morning. A very productive situation in textual matters is a TAW linked to an AWonly by G/logical. and I/linguistic. works. that they have been metamorphosed into an equally ordinary species of repulsive insect. ghosts. robots lifted as well. and witches into the textual world. such as found is and population geography Frankenstein. observe the (Alternatively. D/chronological. is located in some mythical past. unicorns. and metaphorical worlds may encompass a plurality of literal worlds. (If they could not.) An opposite case of divorce between E/natural laws and F/taxonomy or in Marcel is found in the realistic fantasy of Kafka's Metamorphosis is TAW the In these Passe-Muraille. dragons. to be discussed below. H/analytical. rather than knights and princesses. whose hero was born (as well as mentally conceived) in Geneva. and miracles are common occurrences. When E/natural laws and F/taxonomy are lifted. and princes to be turned into frogs. and the AW still F/taxonomic is no longer in force. swords rather than guns. Lifting F/taxonomy introduces fairies. people to fly. and its heroes will be Spider Man and Wonder Woman. These planets are also part of the actual world of the textual universe: modal logic uses the term "world" metaphorically. so usually is C/expanded inventory: fairy tales have their own geography and population.564 Poetics Today 12:3 technological advances lead to interplanetary travel. This would be a case of split ontology. without excessive surprise. and the sun and moon would be deprived of actuality. "How Paul Bunyan Created the Grand Canyon"): supernatural beings roam through the TAW. but the other planets may contain extraterrestrial beings. If D is will include computers and time-travel. but the main characters or A similar inclusion of the AW'S locations have counterparts in the AW. though the TAW travel could lead same laws.. yet are not knights. while lifting El natural laws makes it possible for animals to talk. and.g. in some fantastic tales. the taxonomic repertory of the planet Earth remains that of the AWEarth. and horses as a primary mode of transportation. the AW would be limited to the planet Earth. nature are the laws of same species as the AW. and its taxonomic similarity the TAW to the AWwill be limited to the classes of objects characteristic of preindustrial societies: cottages rather than condominiums. but ordinary people engaged in the familiar pursuits of everyday life.) When interplanetary travel achieved through technological means leads to the discovery of extraterrestrial beings. space physical to discovering planets where the laws of physics no longer held. When D/chronology is still in force. An exception to this convention is the genre legend (e. the TAW and interplanetary vessels. . populated by the Ayme's The heroes broken. dragons.

(A young old man. nonsense is characterized by its rejection of the logical law of noncontradiction. that he is alive. A complete transgression of H/ana- . Each of these cancelled properties belongs to the definition of the word.Ryan * Possible Worlds 565 Emancipation from the relation G/logical opens the gates to the realm of nonsense. Consider this well-known French rhyme: Un jeune vieillard. in Robert Pinget's Libera. P and -p can be true. of a logic-preserving use of contradiction is the following rhyme: A bottle of pop. but also in so-called postmodernist fiction (McHale 1987).) This text cancels the property "old" from vieillard. but from Colorado in one possible world and from Louisiana in another. under pierre a solid object rather than a fluid. without introAn example ducing contradiction within the boundaries of the TAW. The character is simultaneously dead and alive in the TAW. thirty pages later. the property "mineral" from pierre. the contradiction is not meant to be resolved by assigning the second assertion to an earlier time. The text makes it impossible to decide between the two alternatives (for there is no reason to believe that the first statement is really a lie). under the light of a street light which had been turned off. Other types of nonsense are produced by transgressions of H/analytical. but in its actual world as well. sittingon a wooden stone. As Susan Stewart (1978) observes. Transgressions of F occur not only in folklore forms. (Quoted in Stewart1978: 72) Here the speakers are not simultaneously from Colorado and Louisiana. But other definitional properties are left untouched: under vieillard we still understand a human being rather than a machine. was reading a newspaperfolded in his pocket. such as children's rhymes. When we read. and the property "dark" from reverbereeteint. a big banana We'refrom SouthernLouisiana That's a lie. that a certain character is dead and. that'sa fib We'refrom Colorado. Some texts are based on systematically denying some of the essential properties which define a concept.assissur une pierre en bois Lisaitsonjournal plie dans sa poche A la lueur d'un reverbereeteint. This radical break with the laws of logic should be distinguished from the much more common textual practice of presenting contradictory statements as possibilities. not just in separate worlds of the textual universe. and a blank world is left at the center of the textual universe.

with this possibility is the very notion of a textual universe.all such connections are severed in the following poem by Hugo Ball: gadjiberibimbaglandridilonni cadori gadjainagrammaberibabimbalaglandrigalassassa laulitalomini gadji beri bin glassaglassalalaulalonni cadorsi sassalabim Gadjamatuffm i zimzallabinbangligia wowolimaibin beri ban.their names will be deprived of semantic content. and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe All mimsywere the borogroves And the mome raths outgrabe. Linguistic incompatibility can also result from a lack of overlap in the taxonomic repertories of the AWand the TAW. and presumably they have the same properties as what we call jaws and claws and swords in the AW). the implied speaker's willingWhen epistemic ness or authority-to establish the facts of the TAW. something like badgers. access to these facts is denied. Undecidable Relations The evaluation of accessibility relations between the AWand the TAW presupposes the text's ability-that is. unless the text offers its own lexical definitions. Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky" illustrates this type of obscurity: 'Twasbrillig. (Carroll1975 [1916]: 130) When read in the wider context of ThroughtheLooking-Glass. Taken as a self-sufficient entity.: 187)." and "toves"are "something like lizards. While "Jabberwocky" retains some taxonomic/linguistic overlap with the AW (there are jaws and claws and swords in this world.566 Poetics Today 12:3 lytical would lead to an obliteration of I/linguistic: if the entity named "horse" could have all the properties of a computer in the TAW." "slithy" means "lithe and slimy. (Quoted in Stewart1978: 92) Along with the last linguistic connection to the AWvanishes the possiWhat vanishes bility of knowing and saying anything about the TAW. the AW and the TAW would not follow the same linguistic conventions. and the TAW would remain as inaccessible to the reader as the universe of a text in a foreign language. the poem becomes linguistically accessible through Humpty Dumpty's translations: "brillig" means "four o'clock in the afternoon. If the species of the TAW differ radically from those of the AW.however. and something like corkscrews" (ibid. the world at the center of the textual system fails to "solidify"-to borrow the felicitous expression of .

we assume that the mental image respects the basic configuration of the reflected reality. either by leaving it unclear who is speaking or by preventing the reader from identifying the reference world of the sentences. The narrator's discourse is regarded as "just discourse. if ever there was. so as to leave in doubt which of them holds true in the TAW. a poetry of the virtual. respecting relations D/chronological through I/linguistic in the former. we know little that is definitive about the individual facts of the TAW. as incoherent rambling. the private worlds of characters). How do we gain an intuition of the principles by which these worlds are put together? We apprehend the TAWthrough its reflection in the minds of characters." that is. In Robbe-Grillet's Dans le Labyrinthe.Ryan * Possible Worlds 567 Felix Martinez-Bonati (1981: 115)-and accessibility relations become wholly or partially undecidable.e." "perhaps") or by linking them through a logical operator (OR).. This effect can be achieved by modalizing propositions with adverbs of possibility ("maybe. (C) Radical lack of authority. The TAWS of La Jalousie and Pale Fire are basically realistic worlds. (B) The unknowable center. without giving valid reasons to believe the denial rather than the original statement. Both techniques are characteristic of the work of Georg Trakl. but the text nevertheless to outline the laws which this world manages by general is constructed. and even though we do not trust the details of that reflection or cannot identify the reflecting mind. Between the extremes of a completely solidified and a radically inaccessible TAW lies the possibility of a partially defined center. avoiding the representation of an actual world. The text may present what . nonsense and strange jargons are obviously not possible in these domains. Variations on this situation include: (A) The empty center. In texts such as Beckett's The Unnameable. we assume by a law of transitivity that the same relations hold between the AWand the TAW.we never know for sure whether the text describes a factual reality or a character's dream world or hallucination. the narrator undermines his authority by withdrawing previous statements as lies. and C/expanded inventory through I/linguistic in the latter: fairies and time-travel. expressing an inner world of transient perceptions. The text limits its assertions to worlds at the periphery. MultipleRelationsand Split Ontologies One set of accessibility relations is not always sufficient to categorize the actual world of a textual universe. The text blurs the distinctions between the TAW and the worlds at the periphery (i. If the character's subjective view of the TAW is linked to the AWthrough a certain cluster of relations. In works such as Robbe-Grillet's La Jalousie and Nabokov's Pale Fire.

while the profane sphere respects these relations. I would not. and a sphere of undecidable relation to the AW. "the Sacred" or "the Invisible" is not an alternative possible world located at the periphery of the textual system. Conversely. of myth and medieval mystery plays must be assessed from two different vantage points: the perspective of the believer in the sacred. and the perspective of the nonbeliever. In Kafka's novels. and C/expanded The cases inventory. For the believer. A text may be judged as conforming to E/natural laws at some point in history and as breaking those laws at a later point: in the Middle Ages. such as the sacred and the profane in medieval mystery plays or the visible world (everyday reality) versus the invisible one (the Court." though not to "the possible in the ordinary. who professes a dual ontology. the "supernatural" belongs to "the possible in the actual. who adheres to a unified. the reader will regard it as science fiction (just as 1984 will forever remain a novel of anticipation). the TAW is split between a realistic sphere. and as consistent with divisions made he regards the divisions of the TAW within the AW. But how does a member of the original community categorize the text? Claiming that he regards its TAW as globally compatible with E and F would miss the point that his own conceptual system is based on a dualistic ontology.568 Poetics Today 12:3 Thomas Pavel (1986) calls a "dual" or "layered" ontology: the domain of the actual is split into sharply distinct domains obeying different laws. its original genre. B/same inventory. For the nonbeliever the sacred sphere in these texts is reached only by lifting the relations El natural laws and F/taxonomy. but a complementary territory within the central world. a text such as Jules Verne's 20. go so far as to say that the text has shifted genre: as long as the origin of 20. but the passing of time and the invention of submarines have made it fully compatible with these relations for the modern reader. and their dependence on such explanatory models as scientific theories and religious revelation. however. obeying all relations except A/properties.000 Leagues Under the Sea is remembered. Unlike the private worlds of the characters' mental constructs. profane ontology. one applicable to the sacred and the other to the profane. . From a contemporary perspective." His conceptual system divides E and F into two subcategories.000 Leagues Under the Sea broke D/chronology for the nineteenth-century reader. The discrepancy between the believer's and the nonbeliever's points of view demonstrates the historical relativity of particular assessments of accessibility relations. a story about witches could be told as true of the AW. the text's semantic type is more akin to the genre of the adventure thriller than to science fiction. the Castle) in Kafka's novels (Dolezel 1983).

futures. diverse he chooses-simultaneously-all of them. In the semantic universe of such a text.. he chooses one and eliminatesthe others. the center would be everywhere and the circumference nowhere. each time a man is confronted with several alternatives. a semantic universe consists of a plurality of worlds. "The Garden of Forking Paths": In all fictionalworks. since the domain of the non-actual would be drained of its substance. (Borges 1983: 26. All the worlds respecting E/natural laws. G will not hold for the TAW as a whole. one does "exist" in a recentered system of reality: the novel of the Chinese author Ts'ui Pen. While no such text has ever been written in the Aw. in which E/natural laws and Fl taxonomy are broken in the central world of the system. not lived as reality). by simultaneously actualizing them all. in this way. the forking paths of this thinkable but unwritable fiction lead into all the futures allowed by logical and physical laws. In Alice in Wonderland. emphasesin original) Under a narrow conception of accessibility. Fl but since taxonomy. the forking paths may lead into worlds of any semantic is linked to type. Through its internal recentering.e. as described by an English scholar in Borges's short story.for is a realistic world related to the AW instance. the TAW the AWthrough all existing subsets of relations.Ryan * Possible Worlds 569 MultipleRelationsand the UbiquitousCenter The (actual) existence of texts with an empty center raises the question of the reverse case: a text which would absorb all possible worlds within the boundaries of the TAW. in which dreamworlds exist only at the periphery of the textual universe (i. these worlds may be mutually contradictory. and from the fantastic universe of fairy tales. and this dreamworld momentarily takes the place of an actual world through an internal gesture of recentering (as opposed to the external recentering through which Lewis Carroll makes the entire textual universe come into being). . Intra-Universe Relations As already stated. the text differs both from standard realistic novels. and G/logic will then be combined in the TAW. (The passage through this world is too swift to decide whether or not C/expanded inventory holds. in the fictionof Ts'ui Pen. diverse times which themselvesalso proliferateand fork. the TAW through all relations except A/properties andB/same inventory. He creates. Under the diversified notion of accessibility proposed in this paper.) From the world originally designated as the TAW. and. however. dreams are recounted as dreams. the text takes a trip to the dreamworld of Wonderland by lifting E/natural laws and F/taxonomy. and its semantic description requires a recursive application of the taxonomic system within its own confines.

Typically.570 Poetics Today 12:3 To capture the semantic characteristics of a genre." He therefore tries to explain these events away by consigning them to a peripheral world. the fantastic atmosphere arises from a hesitation between a rational and a supernatural interpretation of the facts. they are aligned with the TAW. What the characters perceive the TAW hero originally believes to be possible in the TAW corresponds to what adherents to a profane ontology believe to be possible in the the AW's AW. accessibility relations are involved in the differentiation of genres. in his representation of the TAW. though the former respects C/expanded inventory and the latter does not: La Jalousie makes no reference whatsoever to either individuals On the other hand. but they deviate from the AW. the character is forced to revise his model of reality by adhering to a dualistic ontology. the epistemic worlds of the characters conform to the AW but conflict with the TAW. but the as respecting these relations. therefore. The inner discrepancy which Todorov labels as fantastic stands in striking contrast to the epistemic homogeneity of the fairy tale: here and the supernatural is spontaneously accepted as part of the TAW. A slightly different type of harmony between a supernatural AW and its reflection in the character's mind occurs in The Metamorphosis (a text which Todorov rightly excludes from the fantastic).the TAW text breaks relations E/natural laws and. for Gregor Samsa. yet thing . At the end of the text. such as that of a dream of the fantastic or hallucination. According to Todorov. But the taxonomic classes yielded by computing the various combinations of relations do not necessarily correspond to the generic labels used in a given culture. In their initial state. Genre and AccessibilityRelations As the preceding discussion has suggested. Being transformed into a bug is. When compared to the AW. In some cases they are narrower than in others. as defined by Todorov (1975 [1970]). a totally unprecedented event. however. and. pastoral romances are anyor locations of the AW. one neither foreseen nor explained by his private worldview and. their system of reality can be reached through but realistic. it may be necessary to assess the peripheral worlds of the system in their relations to A case in point is the genre of the fantasboth the AW and the TAW. tic. in their final state. Yet he has no choice but to face the evidence ("this was not a dream" is the first thought to cross his mind). E/taxonomy. not to be experienced by any other individual. the actuality of his metamorphosis is never called into question. a character is confronted with events which cannot be accounted for by his model of "the possible in the actual. possibly. the character's representation of reality is not regulated by the laws of nature. Tolstoi's Anna Karenina and Robbe-Grillet's La Jalousie both contain a "realistic" element.

Generic labels. stylisticfiltering determines the light in which these elements will be presented. and its inventory contains more species and individuals than the cast of characters and the types they represent. characters." "detective. (They may. out of the bucolic. the latter selects a landscape of colonial life and paints it in neutral colors. incredible coincidences. I would like to propose three of these factors: thematic focus. everlasting passion. Its history extends beyond the plot's beginning and ending. all of which are logically. psychologically." refer to various types of stylistic filtering.Ryan * Possible Worlds 571 the same accessibility relations as the universe of La Jalousie: in both cases the inventory of the TAW does not contain that of the AW. The generic labels used in a culture may involve various combinations of the three types of semantic criteria. such as "comic." such as adventure thrillers or historical romances. and events are selected from the history and inventory of the textual universe to form a plot or a message. even though both types respect the same set of accessibility relations. Through probabilistic emphasis. glamorous life-styles.but the TAW respects the laws of physics and logic. from the realistic novels of Dickens or Flaubert. the idyllic. Thematic focus is the principle by which the text's setting.) "Detective" or "historical. In order to refine the categories provided by these various combinations of accessibility relations into a taxonomy corresponding to accepted generic labels." and "historical" novel all concern types of thematic focus within the systems of reality accessible by means of relations C/expanded inventory through I/linguistic. refers to a type of thematic focus which presupposes a certain cluster of accessibility relations. (I conceive of the textual universe as the repertory of events and existents out of which the plot or message is composed. the impression they will make on the reader. thrilling adventures." or "idyllic. While thematic focus guides the selection of whatever is to be shown.) The generic labels "psychological. economically. . of course. also cover nonsemantic features. The distinction of the pastoral romance from La Jalousie within the set of physically possible TAWS involves both thematic focus and stylistic filtering: the former selects the bucolic as thematic focus and filters. "Idyllic" is a type of stylistic filtering. we can differentiate what Doreen Maitre (1983) calls "escapist fiction. Escapist fiction depicts faraway places. such as formal constraints and pragmatic requirements. we must introduce additional factors of semantic diversification." when applied to novels. and physically possible in the Aw. Probabilisticemphasishas to do with whether the text dwells on the mainstream or the marginal within the boundaries of possibility determined by the relevant accessibility relations." "tragic. though highly unlikely. stylistic filtering. agonizing dilemmas. and probabilistic emphasis. burning desire.

In this third sense. oscillating between two types of criteria. If we accept this definition. Still another use of "realistic" emphasizes thematic focus: the text is realistic if it concentrates on everyday life within the regions of the TAW. such as legends or fairy tales. or prehistoric man watching soap operas on television (see McHale [1987] on the creative role of anachronism in postmodernist fiction). For others. But in the narrower definition proposed by Todorov. Kafka's Metamorphosis to combine a fantastic and a realistic element. is psychologically accessible from The TAW (2) Psychologicalcredibility: the AWif we believe that the mental properties of the characters could be those of members of the AW. "Realistic" is understood by some as referring to accessibility relations: a text is realistic if it respects all relations beginning with E/natural laws and if the facts it describes are economically and psychologically possible in the Aw. is accessible from the Aw if the TAW The TAW (1) Historical coherence: not only includes the Aw's population. from works of fantasy which allow the mingling of characters.572 Poetics Today 12:3 "pastoral" a type of thematic focus. "fantastic" is synonymous with transgression of E.Through this relation. The list of candidates for addition to the model includes the following relations.that is. and the label "pastoral romance" covers both features. The fantastic text must create an epistemic uncertainty by making the relation AW/TAW at least temporarily undecidable with respect to E. say. then the label "marvelous" may be substituted for "fantastic" and applied to those texts in which the transgression of E/natural laws is taken for granted. as new genres come into being. In its broadest and most intuitive usage. the events depicted in the realistic text must also fall within the statistically probable. but contains no anachronisms with respect to the AW. The label "fantastic" is another example of potential semantic polyvalence. objects. this transgression is not regarded as a sufficient condition. Some labels are ambiguous. if we regard the charac- . it becomes possible to distinguish standard historical narratives. Expandingthe Repertory The preceding catalogue of semantically relevant accessibility relations is anything but definitive. and preoccupations from different periods: Joan of Arc coming back into the modern world and tackling contemporary problems. The need for expansion will undoubtedly arise as more texts are processed through the model. or as we fine-tune the analysis of individual texts to distinguish them from other representatives of the same genre. as well as what I have called historical confabulation. "realistic" no longer implies acceptance of E/natuor Ayme's Passe-Muraille can be said ral laws.

and those TAWS excluding such entities. it is possible to explain the semantic difference between those TAWS containing allegorical characters. madness is only an extreme point on the scale of psychological possibility. A text that respects psychological credibility makes psychoanalytic theory literally applicable as an interpretive model. such as Death and Beauty. while a text that transgresses the relation can justify only a figurative application: that is. it transgresses the categorial distinction between particulars and universals. Another example of categorial . But psychological credibility can be elevated from a redundant property to a distinctive feature by a text presenting an innovative combination of accessibility relations. while a pastoral romance does not.) When a text breaks the relation of psychological credibility. Insofar as an allegory is the incarnation of an abstract idea. it usually breaks some other. but they do not suffer from it. through the rudimentary inner life of fairy-tale or science-fiction characters. (For madness to break the relation. and the theater of the absurd transgresses G/logic. a fantastic tale combining supernatural events with a plausible portrayal of human psychology.Ryan * Possible Worlds 573 ters as complete human beings to whom we can relate as persons. The main reason for including relations of psychological credibility and socioeconomic compatibility to the catalogue resides in their hermeneutic importance. Through this relation. "sane" environment. where the availability of goods is taken for granted. science fiction breaks DI chronology. for instance. Among the aforementioned examples. And. characters in fairy tales may allegorize the Oedipus complex. By adding this relation to the catalogue. it must be Presented in the context of a generalized to all members of the TAW. a text that respects socioeconomic compatibility makes Marxist doctrine available as a potential explanation. fairy tales also break E/natural laws. or through the madness of the marginal creatures who populate the theater of the absurd. Such a text could be. (4) Categorial compatibility:By this label I mean to signify the respecting of distinctions between basic logical categories. it becomes possible to distinguish the "realistic" world of Robbe-Grillet's La Jalousie. similarly. The TAW is accessible from the AW if (3) Socioeconomic compatibility: both worlds share economic laws and social structure. from the Edenic landscape of the pastoral romance. The relation of psychological credibility can be broken in many ways: through the symbolic unidimensionality of allegorical figures. which makes the specification of the psychology relation somewhat superfluous for the semantic description of the genre. where at least some people work for a living. more salient relation as well.

UFOs." AccessibilityRelationsand Fictionality The preceding discussion reveals a close connection between fictionIn ality and the strength of the relations between the AWand the TAW. a text breaks these relations.574 Poetics Today 12:3 transgression is the statement that concludes the television program Sesame Street: "This program has been brought to you by the letter Z and the number 6. E. lies cannot be told nor errors made about facts universally recognized as true. what looks like a fantastic description of former lives could be the autobiography of a famous actress. and we know that the genre is governed by the rules of the fictional game. the textual referents must consequently fall within a zone of disagreement as to whether or not they are covered by the relation: that is. For the TAW to depart from the AW. what looks like the genuine love letters of a Portuguese nun could be the invention of a seventeenth-century French author. and unknown to be so by either sender or receiver. etc. It is consequently easy for a text to misrepresent facts or to introduce nonexisting individuals while claiming nevertheless that the TAW reflects the AW. We all agree in principle on the laws of language and logic. G. Still greater is our disagreement concerning the inventory of the real world and the properties of its members. the breaking of such relations must be either concealed (deceit) or inadvertent (error). miracles. ESP. and I are consequently much less likely to be broken. in the reader's opinion. nonfictional texts. The question of fictionality is decided neither by the semantic properties of the textual universe nor by the stylistic properties of the text. reliable a thus provides fairly bility relations. as measured by accessiThe distance between the AWand the TAW. If. but is settled a priori as part of our generic expectations. than A or B. And we enter into this game when our concern for the textual system . We regard a text as fiction when we know its genre. F. Even if the reader denies these entities in his personal representation of reality. he will assume that the violation was not only intentional. What looks like a surrealistic poem that breaks the logical law of noncontradiction could very well be an entry in the diary of a schizophrenic patient. but not an absolute criterion. and conversely. H. but meant to be recognized. Our opinions about physical laws and taxonomic classes are less unanimous: some of us believe in ghosts. indicator of fictionality. the possibility remains that the sender regards them as real. The nature of the various relations is such that the last ones listed create much greater unanimity than the higher-order ones. and their occurrence in a text does not constitute an absolute sign of fictionality. and that consecan only be reached through a playful relocation to quently the TAW another system of reality.

Margolin." introduction to Loux 1979: 15-64." Acta Philosophica Fennica 16: 83-94.. 1976b "Narrative Semantics. Michael J. Chicago. 1979 The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality (Ithaca: Cornell University Press). Phyllis 1986 "The Ideology of Form: The Nonfiction Novel. 1978 "Truth in Fiction. Nicholas 1979 [1973] "The Ontology of the Possible. 1983 "Intensional Function. MA: Harvard University Press)." Genre 19: 59-79." in The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts (Bloomington: Indiana University Press)." in Loux 1979: 190-209." American Philosophical Quarterly 15: 37-46. Alvin 1979 [1976] "Actualism and Possible Worlds. McCord." Philosophy and Literature 7: 182-95. Loux." Journal of Literary Semantics 5(1): 5-14. Eco. Maitre. Umberto 1979 "Lector in Fabula: Pragmatic Strategy in a Metanarrative Text. Reception. excerpted in Loux 1979: 182-89. Brian 1987 PostmodernistFiction (New York and London: Methuen). ed. Saul 1963 "Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic. Loux. Rescher. Invisible Worlds and Franz Kafka. Dolezel. Referencesand Related Works Adams. McHale. Uri 1988 "Dealing with the Non-Actual: Conception. Robert Merrihew 1979 [1974] "Theories of Actuality. Kripke. Martinez-Bonati. David 1970 "Anselm and Actuality. Jorge Luis 1983 Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (New York: Modern Library). 1979 "Modality and Metaphysics. Felix 1981 Fictive Discourse and the Structures of Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press). Lewis 1975 [1916] Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (New York." Nous 4: 175-88. Lubomir 1976a "Narrative Modalities. Doreen 1983 Literature and Possible Worlds(London: Middlesex Polytechnic Press)." Poetics Today 9(4): 863-78." in Loux 1979: 166-81. ." PTL 1: 129-51." in Loux 1979: 253-73. Plantinga." Style 17: 12041. 1979 [1973] Counterfactuals. Pavel. Borges. 1986 Fictional Worlds(Cambridge. Lewis. Carroll. 1983 "Towards a Formal Ontology of Fictional Worlds. Thomas G.Ryan * Possible Worlds 575 of reality momentarily displaces our existential concern for the affairs of our own native system. Description. and San Francisco: Rand McNally). Michael J.

Tzvetan 1975 [1970] The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre. Ruth 1988 "The World of Allegory." Philosophy and Literature 7(2): 78-87."Journal of Aestheticsand Art Criticism 35: 121-32." Poetics Today 6(4): 717-56. Marie-Laure 1980 "Fiction. 1985 "The Modal Structure of Narrative Universes. Fiction-Making. Todorov. translated by Richard Howard (Ithaca and New York: Cornell University Press). Wolstertorff.576 Poetics Today 12:3 Ronen. Lucia 1977 "Les Mondes possibles du texte. Stewart. Ryan." Versus 17: 3-13. Nicholas 1976 "Worlds of Works of Art. and the Principle of Minimal Departure. 1983 "Fiction. and Styles of Fictionality. Stalnaker. Kendall 1978 "How Remote Are Fictional Worlds from the Real World?" Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37: 11-23. Walton. ." Journal of Literary Semantics 17(2): 91-121. 1979 [1976] "Possible Worlds. Non-Factuals." in Loux 1979: 225-34." Poetics 9: 403-22. Susan 1978 Nonsense: Aspects of Intertextuality in Folkloreand Literature (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press). Vaina. Robert C.