Interdisciplinary Center for Narratology

Empirischer Autor, Impliziter Autor und Lyrisches Ich (mit einem Nachtrag)

ICN Online Article
English translation of the title: 
Empirical author, implied author and lyrical I (persona) (with an addendum)
Cover image: 

The term ‘lyrical I (persona)’ was introduced by Margarete Susman in 1910 to raise doubts in literary criticism about the widespread categorical identification of the first-person-speaker of a poem with the actual author. During the following decades, the scope of the term was increased, so that in numerous case-studies the ‘lyrical I (persona)’ served as a leading idea for a history of ‘lyrical subjectivity’. This approach, however, is challenged today by attempts to define the phenomenon in a more precise as well as restrictive way. In this notion, the term ‘lyrical I (persona)’ is applicable only to modes of representation where the speaker either actually uses the form of first person singular/plural or is referrable by his addressing a ‘You’. So-called ‘unmediated speech acts’ of a character outlined in the text, usually noted as indicator for the ‘dramatic monologue’ or the ‘Rollengedicht’, should not be accounted for as ‘lyrical I (persona)’.