Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001157, Fri, 28 Jun 1996 10:25:19 -0700

Re: Unreliable narrators (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE. The name of Borges has also been suggested (Steven Barnat

From: anthonyk@wolfenet.com

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Jay, a good reference is Wayne Booth's _The Rhetoric of
Fiction_. See his bibliography section "A Gallery of Unreliable
Narrators and Reflectors". From Kingsley Amis to Virginia Woolf
and Margerite Yourcenar. Of course you will have to begin with a
discussion on what "unreliable" means and the degrees of

Some personal cites: the dramatic monologue in Browning,
Francois Mauriac, Sinclair Lewis, Iris Murdoch, Joyce, and...
but as I type this note, I feel like asking myself, Who _is_ a
reliable narrator?

Dickens? Balzac? Zola? Crane? Melville? Definitely not Rousseau
or Stendhal or Twain. Someone help me here, Montaigne? Hugo,
possibly, although romantically contrived. Tolstoy? I would
argue against his narrators' reliability.

Or Robbe-Grillet in which the narrator is practically
nonexistent, the novel of phenomenon? But not Nathalie Sarraute.

some thoughts,