August 13th, 2010

NCC-1701 Nebula 1

Little Literature Ponder

Someone knows more about this than I do, which is easy because I don't know.

Many novels have character names or place names that aren't spelled out. I seem to think this happened a lot more in 19th century novels than in modern novels: I'm reading Jane Eyre which refers to a town as "            shire." It happens in modern novels, too: in The Color Purple a character is only identified as "Mr. J         ." (The film version gives him the name Mr. Johnson.)

Is there or are there reason(s) this was done? Maybe sometimes the details in those names aren't crucial, maybe sometimes it's a way to note the inherently artificial nature of constructing a story, but my spelling-many-things-out nature still wonders why it's done. And how these are handled when read aloud, for performances or for audio books.

Hey, someone's got to think about this stuff.
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