Fictional Names Masquerading as Literary-Historical Monikers: Onomastic Simulacra in A. S. Byatt’s Possession
Copyright (c) 2014 Maney Publishing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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.
- Alban, Gillian M. E. 2003. Melusine the Serpent Goddess in A. S. Byatt’s Possession and in Mythology. New York: Lexington Books.
- Anderson, Hans Christian (1836) 2012. “The Little Mermaid.” Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. Ed. Max Bollinger. London: Sovereign, 7–25.
- Baudrillard, Jean (1981) 1994. Simulacra and Simulation. Trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
- Burgass, Catherine. 2002. A. S. Byatt’s Possession: A Reader’s Guide. New York: Continuum.
- Byatt, A. S. 1990. Possession: A Romance. New York: Vintage.
- Campbell, John Gregorson. 2005. The Gaelic Otherworld. Ed. Ronald Black. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd.
- Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1816) 2013. “Christabel.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors. 9th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: Norton, 1683–1698.
- d’Arras, Jean (1392–1394) 2012. Melusine. Trans. Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox. University Park: Penn State University Press.
- Doughty, Charles Montagu. (1906) 2012. The Dawn In Britain. Charleston, SC: Nabu Press.
- “Embla.” 2013. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. Available at: <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/embla> [Accessed June 25 2013].
- Fouque, Friedrich de la Motte (1811) 1988. Undine. Trans. Paul Turner. In German Romantic Stories (vol. 35, The German Library). Ed. Frank G. Ryder. New York: Continuum, 15–90.
- Hegarty, Paul. 2004. “Simulation and the Decay of the Real.” Jean Baudrillard: Live Theory. London: Continuum, 49–67.
- Hulbert, Anne. 1991. “The Great Ventriloquist.” The New Republic 204(1&2): 47–49.
- Keats, John (1820) 1982. “Lamia.” John Keats: Complete Poems. Ed. Jack Stillinger. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 342–359.
- Mermin, Dorothy M. 1973. “Tennyson’s Maud: A Thematic Analysis.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 15(2): 267–277.
- Oxford English Dictionary Online. Available at: [Accessed May 15 2013].
- Schor, Hilary M. 2000. “Sorting, Morphing, and Mourning: A. S. Byatt Ghostwrites Victorian Fiction.” Victorian Afterlife. Ed. John Kucich and Sadoff. Dianne F. University of Minnesota Press, 234–251.
- “Scuil Wab: Wird O The Month — Mey.” 2013. Scottish Language Dictionaries. Archived from the original on June 4, 2008 `[Accessed May 15 2013].
- Steveker, Lena. 2009. “Concepts of Identity in Possession and The Biographer’s Tale.” Identity and Cultural Memory in the Fiction of A. S. Byatt. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 9–17.
- Woolf, Virginia (1925) 1990. Mrs Dalloway. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.