The title of the work, its place in the collective library, the nature of the person who tells us about it, the atmosphere established in the written or spoken exhange, among many other instances, offer alternatives to the book itself that allow us to talk about ourselves without dwelling upon the work too closely.
Our relationship with literary characters, at least to those that exercise a certain attraction over us, rests in fact on a denial. We know perfectly well, on a conscious level, that these characters do not exist, or in any case do not exist in the same way as do the inhabitants of the real world. But things manifest in an entirely different way on the unconscious level, which is interested not in the ontological differences between worlds but in the effect they produce on the psyche.Every psychoanalyst knows how deeply a subject can be influenced, and even shaped, sometimes to the point of tragedy, by a fictional character and the sense of identification it gives rise to. This remark must first of all be understood as a reminder that we ourselves are usually fictional characters for other people 
 there exists around the written world opened by the work a multitude of other possible worlds, which we can complete by means of our images and our words. Denying oneself this work of completion in the name of some hypothetical fidelity to the work is bound to fail: we can indeed reject filling these gaps in a conscious way, but we cannot prevent our unconscious from finishing the work, according to its priorities and those of the era in which it was written.