Event Date: 6 February 2012
University of London
London WC1E 7HU
Dr Stacie Friend (Heythrop): Fiction as a Genre
Standard theories define fiction in terms of an invited response of imagining or make-believe. I argue that these theories are not only subject to numerous counterexamples, they also fail to explain why classification matters to our understanding and evaluation of works of fiction as well as non-fiction. I propose instead that we construe fiction and non-fiction as genres: categories whose membership is determined by a cluster of non-essential criteria, and which play a role in the appreciation of particular works. I claim that this proposal captures the intuitions motivating alternative theories of fiction.
Stacie Friend is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, where she has been teaching since 2007. Her research is at the intersection of aesthetics and philosophy of language and mind, focusing primarily on issues relating to fiction. She has published papers on the nature of fiction, discourse and thought about the non-existent, the metaphysics of fictional characters, emotional responses to fiction and tragedy and the cognitive values of literature. She is currently working on a monograph, Matters of Fiction.
Before coming to Heythrop, Dr Friend taught at Birkbeck College (2005-7) and at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania (2003-05). She was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2002-03. She received her BA in Philosophy and English Literature from the University of Miami, Florida (1995) and her PhD in Philosophy from Stanford University (2002).
Dr Friend is the Secretary of the British Society of Aesthetics, as well as an organiser of the London Aesthetics Forum series of talks at the Institute of Philosophy in London.