Authorial voice

When we studied George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four we talked about authorial voice. All texts present different voices in their creation. The voices within a text may or may not be a continuation or extension of the authorial voice.

The distinctive voices, inherent in any text, can be deconstructed to develop an understanding which may validate, challenge or disprove society’s values and/or beliefs within a given context. Language, in all its forms, is a human thing, and bears the traces or imprints of human use, not inherently but in its use. It allows opportunities for the writer to use their work to criticise societies; promote a specific political agenda, record or recreate social and cultural perspectives, persuade acceptance or denial of a particular point of view, and develop lifelike recreations of characters. A text may promote obvious distinction between the authorial voice and character’s viewpoint.

However, regardless of the movement between the distinctive voices that assist in defining any text, you cannot surgically remove the voice/s from the creative process without destroying the mechanism of the creative process itself.

The context of the text is paramount. To successfully understand the context of a text it is necessary to have some understanding of composer’s background. This includes biographical research to establish a social, historical and cultural basis for the text. While a text may be composed outside the life of a writer, there is always an underlying factor for its creation and this information cannot be obtained without researching the writer. Writers can often present information to the responders in such a way that we can see what the narrator overlooks and our interpretation can be swayed through that background knowledge.

Authorial voice may provide the contextual understanding for the text as a whole and the writer’s voice can be present behind the story. The authorial voice may also be purely fictional, created by the author, or it may be a means of historical, cultural or social comment.


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