Anonymous characters in French and English novels of the first half of the 19th century

Main Article Content

Francoise Lavocat


Based on an ongoing research project that focuses on the census of fictional characters in narrative fiction of the first half of the 19th century, in England and France, I propose to present a statistical study on unnamed characters.

How many of them are there? What proportion do they represent according to genres and authors? Is the treatment of nameless characters identical in the sentimental, historical and realistic novels? Are they rather men or women? What is their social status? What kind of information does the story provide about them?

The database that has been created allows us to answer these questions, and to shed new light on what we might call the invisible proletariat of the novel.

The hypothesis I would like to put forward is that the composition of the anonymous population is essential in the appreciation of a fictional world. It is also decisive in that of what I call the demographic style of an author, a genre, an era. 

Published: Nov 14, 2022

Article Details

Characters without Names: the Anonymous and the Crowds