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September 25, 2014
'The Force of Fiction'
The Inaugural "Northrop Frye Centre Lecture"
Prof. William Egginton (Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, The Johns Hopkins University)
5:00 PM (Reception to follow)
Alumni Hall (VC112)
Like the air we breathe, fiction may be almost invisible to us by virtue of its ubiquity and prominence. But as accustomed as we are to engaging with fictional worlds—be it in books or on screens, large or small—it is a mistake to assume that fiction is a simple phenomenon; that it is universal across cultures and times; or that its ostensible distance from truth or reality renders it in any way innocuous. This lecture interrogates theories of fiction in an attempt to elucidate the force of fiction, both in its potential for synchronizing beliefs and behavior as well as in its capacity to disrupt conformity and usher in new truths.
Prof. Egginton teaches literature, literary theory, and the relation between literature and philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of How the World Became a Stage (2003), Perversity and Ethics (2006), A Wrinkle in History (2007), The Philosopher's Desire (2007), The Theater of Truth (2010), and In Defense of Religious Moderation (2011). He is also co-editor with Mike Sandbothe of The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy (2004), translator of Lisa Block de Behar's Borges, the Passion of an Endless Quotation (2003), and co-editor with David E. Johnson of Thinking With Borges (2009). His most recent book, The Man Who Invented Fiction will be published by Bloomsbury in 2015.