The Loss of the Real
This chapter sets up the challenge of offering a reconciliation between the two intuitions about the nature and value of literary artwork. It introduces the sceptic, himself a fiction but a fiction whose voice will draw together the most powerful reasons available for doubting that this reconciliation is possible. It is shown that far from being a literary philistine, the sceptic appears to have both literature and reason on his side. The arguments the sceptic sets forth pose a genuine threat to the humanist intuition. Indeed, they reveal something deeply puzzling about the idea that literature can or ever wishes to be revelatory of reality.
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