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15. White,“˜Figuring the Nature of the Times Deceased,™” p. 21.
NOTES 411

16. For a discussion of the failure of both the narrative and the covering-law models to pith the
essence of history, see Gordon Graham, Historical Explanation Reconsidered (Aberdeen:
Aberdeen University Press, 1983).
17. This is the case even if we accept Maurice Mandelbaum™s distinction between inquiry and
narrative for it would remain a question as to what kind of knowledge (if any) readers
could derive from historical narratives. See Maurice Mandelbaum, “A Note on History as
Narrative,” in History and Theory, VI, 1967; and Mandelbaum, The Anatomy of Historical
Knowledge (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1977).
18. White,“The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory,” in Content, p. 46.
White derives this argument from Louis Mink, “Narrative Form as a Cognitive Instru-
ment,” pp. 197“98.
19. See, for example:White,“The Historical Text as Literary Artifact,” in Tropics, p. 90;“Histori-
cism, History and The Figurative Imagination,” in Tropics, p. 111;“Preface,” in Content, pp.
ix“x;“˜Figuring the Nature of the Times Deceased,™” p. 27; among others.
20. See Louis Mink,“History and Fiction as Modes of Comprehension,” and “Narrative Form
as a Cognitive Instrument” in his Historical Understanding.
21. White,“The Historical Text as Literary Artifact,” in Tropics, p. 4.
22. For example,White,“The Historical Text as Literary Artifact,” in Tropics, p. 82. Here, inven-
tion seems to follow from the verbal nature of the historical text.
23. For example,White,“The Burden of History,” in Tropics, pp. 28“29.
24. For example,White, “The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory,” in
Content, p. 42.
25. For example,White,“The Burden of History,” in Tropics, p. 47.
26. For example, in “Interpretation in History,” White uses the metaphor of the mirror of a
whole for what narrative passes as (Tropics, p. 51). Also note the analogies to replicas like
model airplanes in “The Historical Text as Literary Artifact” in Tropics, p. 88.
27. See White,“Historicism, History and the Figurative Imagination,” in Tropics, pp. 111“12.
28. See, for example,White,“The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory,”
in Content, p. 42.
29. That is, for White, narrative forms are the culture™s patterns of story-telling and a given
event can be plotted in accordance with more than one such structure (which White some-
times refers to as codes [Content, p. 43]).And in his “The Value of Narrativity in the Repre-
sentation of Reality,” White says that the relation between historiography and narrative is
conventional (Content, p. 6).
30. For an account of the argumentative function of intuition pumps, see Daniel Dennett,
Elbow Room (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984).
31. See especially,White, “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality,” in Con-
tent, pp. 1“25.
32. Gerard Genette as quoted by White in Content, p. 3.
33. Though White flirts with the notion of the imaginary as that figures in Lacanian literary
theory, he does not accept it whole cloth. He does apparently agree that narrative seduces
us through our desire for the kind of coherence and completeness that it counterfeits.
However, narratives are also imaginary for him in the sense of being products of the imag-
ination. And, as we have already noted,White does not regard the imagination as discred-
ited epistemically; it has its own realms of veracity, such as the metaphorical. Thus, unlike
many contemporary literary theorists,White is not committed to the view that the imagi-
nary structures of narrative necessarily coerce us into misrecognizing reality. They can,
rather, reveal reality if they are construed metaphorically.
34. White,“The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality,” in Content, p. 24.
35. White,“The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality,” p. 3.
36. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957).
37. White,“Historicism, History and the Figurative Imagination,” in Tropics.
412 NOTES

38. Though White thinks that the epic may correspond more closely to the chronicle than to
narrative proper.
39. White,“Figuring the nature of the times deceased,” p. 29.
40. See Roger Schank and R. P. Abelson, Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding (Hillsdale, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1977).
41. I™ve derived this term from John Passmore, “Narratives and Events,” in History and Theory,
Beiheft 26 (1987), 73.
42. For an expansion of these points, see Frederick A. Olafson, The Dialectic of Action: A Philo-
sophical Interpretation of History and the Humanities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1979). In his Time, Narrative, and History (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1986),
David Carr attempts to defend the notion of “real stories” with reference to corporate enti-
ties like nations in terms of the shared myths that serve in practical deliberations. For my
objections to this way of confronting historical constructivism, see my article-review of
Carr™s book in History and Theory, vol. XXVII, no. 3, 1988.
43. The idea of significance here is derived from Arthur Danto, Knowledge and Narration (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1985).
44. Of course, if the meaning of events is to be conceptualized at the level of comedy or
tragedy, then the issue of fiction cannot be dealt with in the above fashion. But remobiliz-
ing the argument in this way depends on the viability of White™s theory of generic emplot-
ment, which we will take up shortly.
45. In his reliance on the “copy” standard of truth, one suspects that White is endorsing the
myth of the Ideal Chronicler which Danto attacked so persuasively in Narration and Knowl-
edge, pp. 142“82.
46. White™s analogies to science, as comprehended by the constructivist dispensation, sit
uncomfortably with his claims to be concerned with the specificity of history.
47. See, for example, Richard N. Boyd,“The Current Status of Scientific Realism,” in Scientific
Realism, edited by Jarrett Leplin (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984), pp.
41“82.
48. This may be a big if since the “unobservables” the historian deals with are categorically dis-
analogous to the “unobservables” of scientific theories.
49. For further criticism of the notion of transparency as it is used in contemporary literary
theory see No«l Carroll, “Conspiracy Theories of Representation,” Philosophy of the Social
Sciences, vol. 17, 1987.
50. Moreover, the fact that in one story, told for one reason, a causal relation between events A and
B is cited while in another story, undertaken for other purposes, that causal relation is not cited
does not imply that the causal/narrative linkage in the first story is an “imposition.”
51. A related point is made against Louis Mink by William Dray in his review of Historical
Understanding in Clio, vol. 17, no. 4 (Summer, 1988), 397.
52. Michael Harrington, Socialism: Past and Future (New York:Arcade Publishing, 1989), p. 21.
53. A related objection can be found in J. L. Gorman™s review of The Writing of History, The
British Journal of Aesthetics 20 (1980), 189.
54. See Robert Fogelin, Figuratively Speaking (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1988).
55. White, Metahistory, p. 190.
56. White, Metahistory, p. 34.
57. Leon Goldstein attacks the atomic sentences model for other reasons in his “Impediments
to Epistemology in the Philosophy of History,” in History and Theory, Beiheft 25 (1986),
82“100.
58. See J. L. Gorman, The Expression of Historical Knowledge (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University
Press, 1982), ch. 3. See also, J. L. Gorman,“Objectivity and Truth in History,” in Inquiry, 17
(1974), 373“97.
59. See C. Behan McCullagh,“The Truth of Historical Narratives,” History and Theory, Beiheft
26 (1987), 33“40.
NOTES 413

60. It seems to me that Paul Ricoeur makes a similar error in his Time and Narrative (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1984), vol. I. Pressed to account for historical narrative, he opts
for a correspondence theory of truth and maintains that narrative corresponds to tempo-
rality.White justifiably rejects this view for its obscurity, but stays with the commitment to
truth, modifying it in terms of metaphorical truth. Both White and Ricoeur on my view
would do better to recognize that truth is not the only relevant epistemic standard for eval-
uating narratives. Granting that, they could avoid commitments to strange correspondents
(temporality) and special standards of truth.

A RT, INTE N T I O N , CONVERSATION
AND

1. H. P. Grice,“Meaning,” Philosophical Review 66 (1957). See also Grice™s Studies in the Way of
Words (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).
2. The idea of interpretations as hypotheses about authorial intentions is derived from William
Tolhurst,“On What a Text Is and How It Means,” British Journal of Aesthetics 19 (1979).
3. See W. K.Wimsatt, Jr., and Monroe C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy,” Swanee Review
54 (1946).This is an expansion of their “Intention,” in Dictionary of World Literature, ed. J.T.
Shipley (New York: Philosophical Library, 1943).
4. See, for example, E.M.W.Tillyard and C. S. Lewis, The Personal Heresy:A Controversy (Lon-
don: Oxford University Press, 1939). Stein Haugom Olsen makes the very interesting claim
that the intentional fallacy evolved from the personal heresy but that the shift to intention
talk also changed the debate in fateful ways. See Stein Haugom Olsen, The End of Literary
Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 27“28.
5. Anti-intentionalists have not always been careful to keep the issues of authorial intention,
reports of authorial intention, and biography apart. But one should. For example, one may
believe that authorial intent is relevant to interpretation and at the same time maintain
strong reservations about the authority of authorial pronouncements about the meaning of
their artworks. On the distinction between intention and biography, see Colin Lyas, “Per-
sonal Qualities and the Intentional Fallacy,” Philosophy and the Arts: Royal Institute of Philoso-
phy Lectures, vol. 6 (New York: St. Martin™s Press, 1973).
6. Monroe C. Beardsley, Aesthetics (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1958), p. 20.
7. For a discussion of the notion of “intuition-pumps,” see Daniel Dennett, Elbow Room
(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984).
8. Monroe C. Beardsley, “An Aesthetic Definition of Art” in What Is Art? ed. Hugh Curtler
(New York: Haven, 1984); and Monroe C. Beardsley, “Intending,” in Values and Morals, ed.
Alvin I. Goldman and Jaegwon Kim (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978).
9. Beardsley,“Intending.”
10. For related arguments dealing with the problem of arbitrary authorial pronouncements, see
P. D. Juhl, Interpretation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Literary Criticism (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1980), esp. chap. 7, sec. 4.
11. Beardsley, Aesthetics, p. 458.
12. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1970), p. 9.
13. If Kuhn had really meant “weaned” here, he should have written “weaned from,” not
“weaned on.”
14. The locus classicus of this view of intention is G.E.M. Anscombe™s Intention (Oxford: Black-
well, 1959). Mary Mothersill provides a brief but useful sketch of the history of these coun-
tervailing views of intention in her Beauty Restored (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1984), pp. 15“21.
15. See, for example, Stanley Cavell,“Music Discomposed,” in his Must We Mean What We Say?
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), p. 181.Also see “A Matter of Meaning It”
in the same volume.These originally appeared in Art, Mind and Religion, ed.W.H. Capitan
414 NOTES

and D.D. Merrill (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1967).Also relevant is Richard
Kuhns, “Criticism and the Problem of Intention,” Journal of Philosophy 57 (1960). Other
arguments in the neo-Wittgensteinian vein include Frank Cioffi “Intention and Interpreta-
tion in Criticism,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 64 (1963“64); and A.J. Close, “Don
Quixiote and the ˜Intentionalist Fallacy,™” in On Literary Intention: Critical Essays, ed. David
Newton-de Molina (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1976).
16. Monroe Beardsley himself seems to have agreed that the earlier view of intention upon
which his arguments were based are inadequate “ which is one reason why he developed
what I call the ontological argument for anti-intentionalism that is examined later in this
essay. See Monroe C. Beardsley,“Intentions and Interpretations: A Fallacy Revived,” in The
Aesthetic Point of View, ed. Michael J. Wreen and Donald M. Callen (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell
University Press, 1982), p. 189.
17. Roland Barthes,“The Death of the Author,” in his Image-Music-Text (New York: Hill and Wang,
1977). See also Roland Barthes,“From Work to Text,” in Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-
Structuralist Criticism, ed. Josue V. Harari (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1979).
18. In his American Formalism and the Problem of Interpretation (Houston: Rice University Press,
1986), J.Timothy Bagwell argues that the notion of a difference between literary and ordinary
language underlies the early anti-intentionalism of Wimsatt and Beardsley. In this essay, I want
to extend that insight to Beardsley™s later arguments in his “Intentions and Interpretations.”
19. Barthes,“Death of the Author,” p. 143.
20. There may be an interesting parallel with the New Criticism and even Beardsley™s defense
of it here. Not only may Barthes™s infatuation with polysemy correlate to the New Critical
valorization of ambiguity, but also the New Criticism, it can be argued, arose as a critical
practice allied with modernism “ namely, that of Eliot. Indeed, even Beardsley™s treatment
of allusion fits nicely with Eliot™s willingness to ascribe interpretations retrospectively.
Moreover, both the New Criticism and Barthes may be involved in generalizing the criti-
cal position appropriate to the works of art they champion to all works of art.
Of course, the analogy I wish to draw is limited. There are also immense differences
between Barthes and Beardsley. Barthes moves from the irrelevance of the author to fairly
wide-ranging intertextuality, whereas Beardsley, given a commitment to the autonomy of
the art work, advances a constrained form of objective interpretation. That is, Barthes™s
position elicits a great deal of free play on the part of the reader, whereas Beardsley remains
committed to the possibility of true interpretations.
On Eliot™s retrospective anti-intentionalist interpretations, see T.S. Eliot, “Tradition
and the Individual Talent,” in Twentieth-Century Literary Theory, ed. Vassilis Lambropoulos
and David Neal Miller (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987).
21. Beardsley,“Intentions and Interpretations,” p. 190.
22. Characters, implied or otherwise, do not exist de re.
23. This view is also advanced by Graham Hough, who traces it to Austin. See Graham Hough,
“An Eighth Type of Ambiguity,” in Newton-de Molina, On Literary Intention.
24. See Richard Ohmann, “Speech Acts and the Definition of Literature,” Philosophy and
Rhetoric 4 (1971); Richard Ohmann,“Speech, Action and Style,” in Literary Style:A Sympo-
sium, ed. Seymour Chatman (London: Oxford University Press, 1971); Barbara Herrnstein
Smith, “Poetry as Fiction,” in New Directions in Literary History, ed. Ralph Cohen (Balti-
more: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974); see also chap. 2 of Barbara Herrnstein Smith,
On the Margins of Discourse: The Relation of Literature to Language (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1978). Indeed, Smith suggests an argument that somewhat parallels Beards-
ley™s in her “The Ethics of Interpretation,” in On the Margins of Discourse. For Beardsley™s
defense of the notion that lyric poems are representations, see his “Fiction as Representa-
tion,” Synthese 46 (1981).
25. To be fair to Beardsley, it is important to note that in his “Philosophy of Literature,” he
appears to admit that there are literary works that are not fictional; this leads him to develop
NOTES 415

an aesthetic definition of literature “ that is, one based on aesthetic intentions rather than
on fiction. But it is hard to see that that admission will not undercut the argument in
“Intentions and Interpretations.” See Monroe C. Beardsley,“The Philosophy of Literature,”
in Aesthetics: A Critical Anthology, ed. George Dickie and Richard J. Sclafani (New York: St.
Martin™s Press, 1977), p. 325.
26. See John R. Searle,“The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse,” New Literary History 6 (1974).
27. I suspect that one reason for adopting the notion of an implied author as a general hypoth-
esis applying to all literary works by critical theorists may be an attempt “ parallel to phe-
nomenalism “ to fend off skeptical, epistemological anxieties. That is, lacking a general
principle for telling when one is confronted by the views of an actual author versus an
implied author, one opts for a kind of reductionism “ there are only, always implied
authors. But this sort of reductionism hardly explains the behavior of our literary practices
in general “ we argue not only about but with Mailer™s views on sex, death, and manliness.
In regard to my last point, one might respond in the spirit of Boris Tomasevkij, the
Russian Formalist critic. He thinks of the public character of an author as a fictional cre-
ation “ a fabrication existing in newspapers, published journals, and correspondence.
Extrapolating from his position, one might try to say that we are arguing, not really with
Mailer, but with the character of Mailer as he exists in our literary culture. But, as intrigu-
ing as this idea might be, I think we are often arguing with the real Norman Mailer, not a
publicity fabrication or an implied author. See Boris Tomasevskij, “Literature and Biogra-
phy,” in Lambropoulos and Miller, Twentieth-Century Literary Theory.
Perhaps another motive for commitment to the generalized application of the notion
of the implied author is that it is a means of adjusting to and accepting the intentional fal-
lacy. But in this case, the claim that all literary expression is mediated by implied speakers
cannot be used in an argument with intentionalism without begging the question.
28. Beardsley, Aesthetics, pp. 409“11.
29. This interpretation is derived from Christopher Butler,“Saving the Reader,” in Future Lit-
erary Theory, ed. Ralph Cohen (New York: Routledge, 1989).
30. Jonathan Culler, a literary theorist in the Barthesian tradition, seems to take it that the lit-
erary work is divorced from reality because it is fictional, and therefore not a speech act. It
functions differently, as a result, than ordinary language. This view sits strangely with his
view that in reading literary texts with their consequent, wide-ranging semiosis we learn
about the processes of the production of meaning in general.That is, how can the literary
texts be essentially different than ordinary discourse, yet shed light on the processes of ordi-
nary discourse? See Jonathan Culler, Structuralist Poetics (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University
Press, 1975), pp. 139 and 264“65.
31. Furthermore, if the mark of whether language is acting on reality is the presence of the
speaker to the listener, then this would seem to make theatrical utterances a case of acting
directly on reality, which is a consequence that I infer Barthes would reject.
32. One wonders, of course, whether Beardsley could extend the distinction between perfor-
mances of illocutionary acts and representations of illocutionary acts across all the arts, since it
is not clear that speech-act theory can be made to fit the cases of pictures, statues, and so on.
33. For a more extended account of this, see No«l Carroll, “Trois propositions pour une cri-
tique de la danse contemporaine,” in La Danse au defi, ed. Michele Febvre (Montreal: Edi-
tions Parachute, 1987).
34. As well, a great deal of literature will have to be understood in terms of choices and doings
rather than solely in terms of manipulations of linguistic conventions. The way in which an
author modulates a suspense structure, for example, will have to be explained in terms of what
he is trying to do; there are no fixed conventions to fall back on. Instead, the author will adopt
a certain strategy that we will have to interpret intentionalistically. Similarly, the remarks about

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