December 10, 2003



free indirect style (or free indirect discourse). A manner of presenting the thoughts or utterances of a fictional character as if from that character's point of view by combining grammatical and other features of the character's 'direct speech' with features of the narrator's 'indirect' report. Direct discourse is used in the sentence She thought, 'I will stay here tomorrow', while the equivalent in indirect discourse would be She thought that she would stay there the next day. Free indirect style, however combines the person and tense of indirect discourse ('she would stay') with the indications of time and place appropriate to direct discourse ('here tomorrow'), to form a different kind of sentence: She would stay here tomorrow. This form of statement allows a third-person narrative to exploit a first person point of view, often with a subtle effect of irony, as in the novels of Jane Austen. Since Flaubert's celebrated use of this technique (known in French as le style indirect libre) in his novel Madame Bovary ( 1857), it has been widely adopted in modern fiction. [Baldick, 1990]

Posted by Sasha at December 10, 2003 06:27 PM | TrackBack