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voice


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A rather vague metaphorical term by which some critics refer to distinctive features of a written work in terms of spoken utterance. The voice of a literary work is then the specific group of characteristics displayed by the narrator or poetic ‘speaker’ (or, in some uses, the actual author behind them), assessed in terms of tone, style, or personality. Distinctions between various kinds of narrative voice tend to be distinctions between kinds of narrator in terms of how they address the reader (rather than in terms of their perception of events, as in the distinct concept of point of view). Likewise in non-narrative poems, distinctions can be made between the personal voice of a private lyric and the assumed voice (the persona) of a dramatic monologue.

Subjects: Literature.


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