unreliable narrator (plural unreliable narrators)
- (literary theory, hyphenated when used attributively) A narrating character or storyteller in a literary or other artistic work—such as a novel, play, song, or film—who provides inaccurate, misleading, conflicting, or otherwise questionable information to the reader or audience.
- 1969, Charles A. Watkins, "Chaucer's Sweete Preest," ELH, vol. 36, no. 3 (Sep), p. 463:
- The Priest also places a moral barrier between himself and his tale by establishing himself as an "unreliable narrator" capable of deception and irony.
- 2000 April 17, Richard Corliss, "A Yuppie's Killer Instinct" (film review of American Psycho), Time (retrieved 27 June 2007):
- Patrick, for all his brutal truth telling, is an unreliable narrator.
- 2007 Sept. 16, Terrence Rafferty, "Cantabrigian Psycho" (book review of Engleby by Sebastian Faulks), New York Times (retrieved 16 March 2014):
- [F]or the rest of the book Faulks gets to indulge in the unreliable-narrator game of cunning ellipses and selective, gradual revelation.
in literary theory
- Dutch: onbetrouwbare verteller m, onbetrouwbare vertelster f
- French: narrateur incertain m, narratrice incertaine f; narrateur douteux m, narratrice douteuse f