, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 163–183 | Cite as

What Instances of Novels Are

  • Alexey AliyevEmail author


The consensus is that novels can be fully appreciated only through an experiential engagement with their well-formed instances. But what are the entities that serve as such instances? According to the orthodox view, these entities are primarily inscriptions—concrete texts written or printed on something or displayed on the screen of some electronic device. In this paper, I argue that this view is misguided, since (a) well-formed instances of a novel must manifest certain sonic properties, but (b) such properties cannot be manifested by inscriptions. As an alternative, I put forward the view that the entities that serve as well-formed instances of novels are readings and sums of readings and graphic elements.


Instances of novels Philosophy of literature Ontology of literature Metaphysics of art 



I am grateful to Jerrold Levinson, Andrew Kania, Lee Walters, David Davies, James Hamilton, Wesley Cray, and two anonymous referees for this journal for the very helpful comments, which have led to a number of substantial improvements in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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