The death of the unreliable narrator

How we killed the narrator, and why we need it back

Modernism killed the omniscient narrator, and postmodernism deconstructed the very idea of narrative. Unreliable narrators have become the norm in literature and film, from Nabokov's Lolita to David Fincher's Fight Club. But this is changing. Metamodernism is reclaiming the reliable narrator in innovative and unexpected ways.


Roland Barthes begins his seminal essay, ‘The Death of the Author’ (1967), with the assertion that writing is that “neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing.” As contemporary consumers of postmodern and post-postmodern narratives, this might seem obvious to us. We are no longer used to assuming that a text — be it a film, a novel, a song or a TikTok — bears any real connection to its author. Even the most mundane of these examples, the dreaded six second TikTok, we know is, on some level, performative. We know t

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Thomas Martinez 14 December 2023

Thank you for sharing!