Sunday Book-Thought 91

I have argued that if a literary work expresses certain propositions, then the author is committed to the corresponding beliefs and to their truth. I have tried to support this claim by examining a few representative examples of critical argument and commentary on the meaning of a text. That is, I have tried to make explicit some of the tacit assumptions which underlie our interpretation of a literary work. If what I have said is true, then in one important sense (fictional) literature is not autonomous. At least as far as those propositions which a work expresses or conveys are concerned, the connection between language and the world is not severed in literature. This should hardly come as much of a surprise. For, I suppose, few of us, at least in our less guarded moments, would be inclined to believe otherwise. But when widely accepted and highly sophisticated theories of literature imply the contrary, it may be worth reminding ourselves of the homely truth that poets do after all actually say things.
– P. D. Juhl, Interpretation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Literary Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 194-195.

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