Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is there such thing as a reliable narrator?

And if not, if the words of a narrator cannot be trusted because they are too "subjective" (difficult to reconcile how a nonexistent being can be subjective), then can the words of the author be trusted? Part of the conventions of reading is to ignore the author when the author is not being deliberately intrusive. One of the signs of a conventionally "good" author is self-obliteration (thus the death of the author, much discussed in the early 90s lit crit circles). How can we trust a figure whose goal is to efface himself and replace his voice with one that is inherently untrustworthy?

Can any narrative be trusted?

Must we be condemned to nothing more than subjectivity?

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