Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Personifying a person or object when communicating to an audience.
  • n. Personification of an abstraction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A figure by which things are represented as persons, or by which things inanimate are spoken of as animated beings; also, a figure by which an absent person is introduced as speaking, or a deceased person is represented as alive and present. It includes personification, but is more extensive in its signification.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Literally, making (that is, inventing or imagining) a person; in rhetoric, originally, introduction, in a discourse or composition, of a pretended speaker, whether a person absent or deceased, or an abstraction or inanimate object: in modern usage generally limited to the latter sense, and accordingly equivalent to personification.
  • n. See prosopopeia.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature

Etymologies

From Ancient Greek προσωποποιία ("dramatization, the putting of speeches into the mouths of characters"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The prosopopoeia which is adopted by Plato in the Protagoras and other dialogues is repeated until we grow weary of it.

    Laws

  • The Old and New Testament, which by a 'prosopopoeia' are here called the 'two witnesses.'

    The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Honest Pantagruel, not understanding the mystery, asked him, by way of interrogatory, what he did intend to personate in that new-fangled prosopopoeia.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

  • In my opinion, little honour is due to such as are mere lookers-on, liberal of their eyes, and of their crowns, and hide their silver; scratching their head with one finger like grumbling puppies, gaping at the flies like tithe calves; clapping down their ears like Arcadian asses at the melody of musicians, who with their very countenances in the depth of silence express their consent to the prosopopoeia.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

  • De Man called this biographical trope personification, prosopopoeia, literally "giving face" to an inanimate collection of words, transforming them into the features of a human life.

    The Last Formalist, or W.J.T. Mitchell as Romantic Dinosaur

  • Dozens of refinements on standard descriptions hold meaning for ut pictura poesis but the matter is complicated since many medi - eval and Renaissance rhetoricians are in conflict over both definitions and examples for descriptio, charac - terismus, effictio, mimesis, notatio, informatio, diatypo - sis, prosopographia, prosopopoeia, and many other categories that demand varying amounts of formed concrete detail.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • Here the only refuge of our adversaries is to cry up a prosopopoeia (Schlichting.p. 627) But how do they prove it?

    Pneumatologia

  • They say (Schlichting.p. 610) "That the Holy Ghost is here introduced as a person by a prosopopoeia, -- that the distribution of the gifts mentioned is ascribed unto him by a metaphor; and by the same or another metaphor he is said to have a will, or to act as he will."

    Pneumatologia

  • So the heavens and the earth are said to "hear," and the fields, with the trees of the forest, to "sing" and "clap their hands," by a prosopopoeia.

    Pneumatologia

  • Geoffrey teaches how to praise, blame, and ridicule; he gives models of good prosopopoeias; prosopopoeias for times of happiness: an apostrophe to England governed by Richard Coeur-de-Lion (we know how well he governed); prosopopoeia for times of sorrow: an apostrophe to England, whose sovereign (this same Richard) has been killed on a certain Friday:

    A Literary History of the English People From the Origins to the Renaissance

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Comments

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  • JM enjoys the spectre of a prosopopoeia as much as the next figment of his imagination.

    May 11, 2011