Stanley Fish: Why Knowing the Ending Doesn’t Spoil it For Us

Great NY Times post by Stanley Fish on why spoilers don’t really spoil anything. A look into the arguments put forward by Robert J. Yanal and Richard J. Gerrig on what suspense really is and how, even if  you know the ending, you still get thrilled by the ride:

I am persuaded by Gerrig’s account of the “paradox of suspense” if only because it confirms the experience I have had many times of immersing myself completely in the uncertainties of a narrative whose conclusion I know, but may not actively know at the moment. But whichever account of the paradox you accept, the supposedly deleterious effect of a spoiler is diminished. Either spoilers give back more than they take away or they take away nothing because suspense and surprise survive them.

Unfortunately, the references used in Fish’s article are not easily accessible to the public, but if you have University library access and/or an account with Questia, you can get them.

Carroll, N., Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge University Press. 2001.
At Questia

Yanal, R. The Paradox of Suspense, British Journal of Aesthetics, Volume 36, Issue 2, Pp. 146-158.

Gerrig, R. Is There A Paradox Of Suspense: A Reply to Yanal, British Journal of Aesthetics, Volume 37, Issue 2, Pp. 168-174.




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