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Extra resources for Critical Essays on Roland Barthes
Literary texts cannot be both immersive and self-reflective, ‘because language behaves like holographic pictures: you cannot see the signs and the world at the same time. 16 The idea of a scale does not divide reason and imagination into separate ontological planes, but Wolf’s model still maintains a ENACTIVE PERCEPTION AND FICTIONAL WORLDS 25 spatially enforced division between the two experiences, as an increase in one quality would mean the decrease of the other, making the presence of self-reflection an inhibitor for the experience of immersion in a fictional world.
Become completely imaginary, even while its presence remains in the characters’ perceptual experience. In some sense the characters’ vision of their urban landscape resembles that of parkour practitioners who view their environment through ‘parkour vision’ that renders accessible routes that are invisible (impossible) to other city-dwellers; see Lieven Ameel and Sirpa Tani, ‘Everyday Aesthetics in Action: Parkour Eyes and the Beauty of Concrete Walls’, Emotion, Space and Society 5 (2012), 165. For a view of how conceptual metaphors organise storyworlds, see Michael Sinding, ‘Storyworld Metaphors in Swift’s Satire’, Beyond Cognitive Metaphor Theory: Perspectives on Literary Metaphor, ed.
One of the obstacles in trying to think about fictionality and perception in these terms is the intuition revealed in Ryan’s and Wolfe’s analogies for self-reflection: that having two such different perspectives at the same time should be impossible, just like it is impossible to observe a space both from the inside and the outside, or both the duck and the rabbit in Wittgenstein’s much-cited image. But these analogies lead us down a false trail. As Noë notes, the task of flipping between one animal and the other in the duck-rabbit image is an attentional task, not a perceptual one, and the duality of perception is, therefore, not analogous with first seeing the duck and then seeing the rabbit.