Quick Reference


The term used by Henry James in the prefaces to some of his novels to denote a fictional character whose role as confidant or confidante is exploited as a means of providing the reader with information while avoiding direct address from the narrator: in James's novel The Ambassadors (1903), Maria Gostrey is the ficelle to whom the protagonistLambert Strether discloses confidentially his opinions about the complex state of affairs in which he is involved. In French, the word denotes a string used to manipulate a puppet, or more broadly, any underhand trick.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries