June 23, 2017

Donald Trump and Vladimir Nabokov @ArsScripta @FrankPasquale @NPR

Over at NPR, Danielle Kurtzleben has an interesting discussion of Donald Trump as a "unreliable narrator," asking whether he resembles Nabokov as a writer and offering us an explanation of why his Twitter feed fascinates us so much (well, apart from the part that he sits in the Oval Office, at least for now). She quotes Wayne C. Booth, the creator of the term "unreliable narrator" as writing, "All of the great uses of unreliable narration depend for their success on far more subtle effects than merely flattering the reader or making him work. Whenever an author conveys to his reader an unspoken point, he creates a sense of collusion against all, those, whether in the story or out of it, who do not get that point."

What point or points is Trump making and to whom? Commentators have already spilled a lot of ink and spent a lot of tv time opining on this issue. Who is his audience? Is he persuading anyone? Or is that even his purpose? Is he constructing an alternate reality, or presenting the reality that at least a substantial minority of the US public agrees exists?

BTW, Wayne C. Booth is just about my favorite literary theorist. His books, The Rhetoric of Fiction and The Rhetoric of Irony, are just amazing.

Via @ArsScripta, @FrankPasquale.

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