Home button


Authorial intrusion (narrative discourse)—standard in 18th-19th-century fiction

Direct authorial commentary in Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852):


From Henry Fielding, Tom Jones (1749):

From Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy (1759-1770) 

From Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1853):

When Jo the crossing-sweeper dies in Bleak House, the author intrudes in propria persona to say: “Dead, your Majesty.  Dead, my lords and gentlemen.  Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order.  Dead, men and women, born with Heavenly compassion in your hearts.  And dying thus around us every day” (649).  It is similarly the author himself who is moved to address the reader after Oliver Twist recounts for the Maylies, the “weary catalogue of evils and calamities which hard men had brought upon him”: