Catherine Gallagher’s arguments for a rise of fictionality in the eighteenth century, reinventing the rise of the novel as a rise in fictionality, provides a starting point for the article. It will compare Gallagher’s thesis to other proposals about the rise of fictionality at earlier (Wolfgang Rösler, Walter Haug, William Nelson) and later (Nicholas Paige) points in time. The article provides a survey of recent work on fiction(ality) and then discusses the proposals by Gallagher, Paige, and Françoise Lavocat with an emphasis on the transhistorical and transcultural definition of fictionality. It will argue, first, that Gallagher’s theses reconfigure Ian Watt’s rise of the novel and that the rise of fictionality is actually more the rise of a particular kind of novel protagonist in a novel setting. Second, it will maintain that the novel is not tantamount to fictionality but that fictionality existed prior to the eighteenth century. This will lead to an exploration of definitions of fictionality and the criteria for determining its presence or absence at particular points in time. Taking Lavocat’s definition of fictionality as its template, the article will then present an argument for the invention of factuality in the eighteenth century as a response to the alleged invention of fictionality during that period.

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