chapter  Chapter Four
40 Pages

Authorial Reticence

ByAmaryll Beatrice Chanady

Absolute authorial reticence is a contradiction in terms. “Authorial reticence” is a relative term which applies to the absence of obvious intrusions and manipulation on the part of the author. Explicit moral judgments and comments on the text or act of narration are only extreme forms of authorial mediation. One of the most effective forms of guiding the reactions of the reader is authorial reticence, not in the restricted sense of absence of moralizing, but in the wider sense of withholding information and explanations. The fantastic depends on authorial reticence for its effect, and indeed its existence. Authorial reticence reaches a point where the reader must either he content with an irremediably inexplicable situation, or extrapolate in order to find a preposterous supernatural solution. The intent of the narrator, however, is obviously to leave the reader in a state of uncertainty. Authorial reticence in the case of plot and description is used very effectively by Maupassant.