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Elizabeth Bennet Lives: Literary Present Tense

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This is called literary present tense and is used regardless of the tense in which the text

Pride and Prejudice is written in past tense, but to describe the novel, I’d say, “Elizabeth

” Literary present tense may seem baffling because many books take place over a long period

Literary present tense makes discussions of books less confusing and keeps them fresh and relevant

” Annotated editions aside, most books don’t change much — if at all — after they’re published

People can reread passages or re-watch TV or movie scenes at any time

Even though it doesn’t change over time, the action is treated as ongoing because it’s

Even when engaging with nonfiction, I write, “The author argues that…” A book may have been published

The Vanderbilt page also points out that historical events, such as publication dates, should be referenced in

As long as it’s clear which events are real and which are fictional, both tenses can

For example: Janie Crawford is the protagonist of Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937

Most writers alter the tense with brackets only when incorporating a quote into their own sentence

My high school English teachers taught me to use it, and my English professors confirmed it

So, I’m writing from my own experience as a writer with a BA in English

The Modern Language Association’s style guide gives many helpful examples of literary present tense

Historians, in contrast, often prefer to describe all historical texts in the past tense

Literary present tense simplifies the task of describing fiction

This may sound counterintuitive because conventions can be difficult to remember and follow

In May 2022, when I wrote a brief introduction to literary point of view for BR, I focused

Many books have complicated timelines and switch tenses frequently

The literary present tense eliminates the need to keep track of all those changes when describing fiction

Sentences like “After a shipwreck, the protagonist is marooned” summarize a chronology of events without switching tenses

The language in fiction, including shifts in tense, can be layered and nuanced

Ideally, this should allow readers and writers to focus on analysis, instead of worrying about juggling relative

Internal consistency is the most important, especially in the same sentence or paragraph

The MLA style guide page advises editors not to change writers’ tenses unless they know whether the

Literary present tense’s purpose is ease and clarity for readers and writers