R is For Raisonneur

Raisonneur – A character in a play, novel or the like who appears to act as a mouthpiece for the opinions of the author, usually displaying a superior or more detached view of the action than the other characters.

Origin: 1900-05, French: literally, one who reasons or argues, equivalent to “raisonn” to reason, argue

First of all, I love the sound of this word, “rayson-neuh” said with your best Frenchly puckered lips. That’s why I chose it in the first place. The meaning was the cherry on top. I learned something. I didn’t know there was a word for what at first glance I thought meant the same as “authorial intrusion.” This is a literary device wherein the author of the story, poem or prose steps away from the text and speaks out to the reader. Authorial intrusion establishes a one to one relationship between the writer and the reader where the latter is no longer a secondary player or an indirect audience to the progress of the story but is the main subject of the author’s attention.

A raisonneur was encountered most frequently in European plays of the 17th and 18th centuries; examples are Shakespeare’s King Lear, Cléante in Molière’s Tartuffe and Starodum in Fonvizin’s The Minor.

Interestingly, there are a number of people on the internet who use the moniker, Raisonneur, including a a 17-year whose favorite book is “Eat, Pray, Love.”

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