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A lecture by Françoise Lavocat, Sorbonne Nouvelle, University of Paris 3

Among the many contemporary challenges threatening the boundary between fact and fiction, the old confusion between fiction and falsehood is coming back with the theme of "fake news," "alternative facts," and the ubiquity of conspiracy theories. In my view, this constitutes a regression. An overly narrow definition of fictionality, radically excluding the idea of falsity, fails to take  into account the fact that fictions are, more often than not, hybrid. Can this difficulty be resolved by a theory of degrees of fictionality?

Françoise Lavocat is Professor of General and Comparative Literature at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3. Her research focuses on the theories of fiction and character. Among her many books are: Les personnages rêvent aussi (2020), Fait et Fiction : Pour une frontière (2016), La Syrinx au bûcher : Pan et les satyres à la Renaissance et à l'âge baroque (2005), Arcadies malheureuses, aux origines du roman moderne (1998). Since 2023, she is the Vice-President for International Relations at the Sorbonne. She is also President of the International Society for Fiction and Fictionality Studies, a senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France, and a member of the European Academy. Recently, with an international team, she carried out a survey on the memory of fictional characters around the world.

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