ABSTRACT

Everything in the stratum of presented objects is indeterminate, Roman Ingarden tells us, but some presented objects are more indeterminate than others. Some are permanently and radically indeterminate between two or more states of affairs: they “iridesce” or “opalesce.” What Ingarden evidently had in mind was sentences projecting states of affairs which could be reconstructed in more than one way, the sorts of sentences handled by conventional literary criticism under the rubric of ambiguity. He almost certainly did not have in mind the kind of ambiguities one finds in postmodernist novels such as Clarence Major’s Reflex and Bone Structure (1975):

My elbows on the dressing table begin to ache. And someone opens the door. It’s Dale who stands there, mouth open,

watching us. I erase him. He’s still on stage. In his glory. Cutting another notch into the totem pole of his career.