Vol. 62 No. 1 (2014)
Research Article

Fictional Names Masquerading as Literary-Historical Monikers: Onomastic Simulacra in A. S. Byatt’s Possession

Published 2014-03-01


  • first names,
  • unisex names,
  • name frequencies,
  • gender,
  • race,
  • USA,
  • name diversity
  • ...More



Jean Baudrillard’s theory on the nature of simulation proposes that a shift from reality to representation progresses until the artificial surpasses the authentic. Phase three simulation occurs when distinctions between re­presentation and reality virtually disappear. In Possession, A. S. Byatt erodes boundaries between fictional representation and literary-historical reality to the extent that stage three simulation is achieved in her novel. Most strikingly, this phenomenon occurs through onomastic imitations as the created names of her fictional poets and faux scholars appear as real to the reader as the actual names of literary-historical personages.


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