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Cliffhangers and Sequels: Stories, Serials, and Authorial Intentions

  • PETER ALWARD (a1)

Abstract

A fictional work contains a cliffhanger if it ends with a central character finding herself in perilous circumstances. The goal of this paper is to establish that authors’ narrative intentions determine what happens next in works that end in cliffhangers when no sequel is produced. To this end, I argue from the fact that a sequel written by the original author would uniquely resolve a fictional work that ends in a cliffhanger to the conclusion that the author’s narrative intentions serve as truth-makers for claims about what happens next in the absence of some such sequel.

Une œuvre de fiction contient une mise en suspens (cliffhanger) si elle se termine au moment où un personnage central se retrouve dans des circonstances périlleuses. Le but de cet article est d’établir que les intentions narratives des auteurs déterminent ce qui se passe ensuite dans les œuvres qui se terminent par des mises en suspens et pour lesquelles aucune suite n’est produite. À cette fin, j’argumente à partir de l’idée qu’une suite écrite par l’auteur original résoudrait de façon unique une œuvre de fiction qui aboutit à une mise en suspens; je conclus que les intentions narratives de l’auteur servent de vérifacteur pour des affirmations sur ce qui arrive ensuite en l’absence d’une telle suite.

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References

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Beardsley, Monroe 2004 “Intentions and Interpretations: A Fallacy Revived,” in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art: The Analytic Tradition, edited by Lamarque, Peter and Olsen, Stein Haugom. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 189199.
Carroll, Noel 2001 “On the Narrative Connection,” in Perspectives on Narrative Perspective, edited by Peer, Willie van and Chatmaneds, Symour. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, pp. 118133.
Currie, Greg 2010 Narratives and Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hirsch, E.D. 1967 Validity in Interpretation. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Stecker, Robert 2006 “Moderate Actual Intentionalism Defended.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (4): 429438.
Velleman, David 2003 “Narrative Explanation.” Philosophical Review 112 (1): 125.
Walton, Kendall 1990 Mimesis as Make-Believe. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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Cliffhangers and Sequels: Stories, Serials, and Authorial Intentions

  • PETER ALWARD (a1)

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