Related Overviews

stock character

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343—1400) poet and administrator

William Hazlitt (1778—1830) writer and painter


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  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)
  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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The representation of persons in narrative and dramatic works. This may include direct methods like the attribution of qualities in description or commentary, and indirect (or ‘dramatic’) methods inviting readers to infer qualities from characters' actions, speech, or appearance. Since E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel (1927) a distinction has often been made between ‘flat’ and ‘two-dimensional’ characters, which are simple and unchanging, and ‘round’ characters, which are complex, ‘dynamic’ (i.e. subject to development), and less predictable. See also stock character, type.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) — Literary Studies (19th Century).

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