from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A figure of speech in which an absent or imaginary person is represented as speaking.
  • n. See personification.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative form of prosopopoeia.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin prosōpopoeia, from Greek prosōpopoiiā : prosōpon, face, mask, dramatic character (pros-, pros- + ōpon, face from ōps, ōp-, eye) + poiein, to make.


  • Thus, the admonition to "treat wine as our equal" is followed immediately by a prose rendering of the early poem, "L'Âme du vin," an extended prosopopeia in which wine, from within its

    Economies of Excess in Brillat-Savarin, Balzac, and Baudelaire

  • But I had another and more dreadful sorrow to think of, the sorrow of a woman who had lost her last love; so I left the old woman to her prosopopeia, and carried off the precious correspondence, carefully sealed by my friend of the day.

    The Message

  • Paradoxical, the spectacle of this disciple of Kojève, fed on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and on the prosopopeia of the Idea, reproaching others for their excessive idealism.

    In the Footsteps of Tocqueville (Part IV)

  • The vertiginous traumas of meat and marking often generate spectacular results, like the miasmatic language of Beatrice in The Cenci, or the prosopopeia of Swellfoot the Tyrant.

    _Queen Mab_ as Topological Repertoire

  • But boy-talk is always lively and pointed; not at all precise, but very prone to prosopopeia; ever breaking out of the bounds of legitimate speech to invent new terms of its own.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 06, No. 38, December, 1860

  • The _Trinklieder_ (Drinking Songs) were prosopopeia to wine and the bowl: _ "Du, herrlich Glas ..."

    Jean-Christophe, Volume I

  • That He says, "The morrow shall be anxious for itself," comes of desire to make more plain what He speaks; to that end employing a prosopopeia of time, after the practice of many in speaking to the rude populace; to impress them the more, He brings in the day itself complaining of its too heavy cares.

    Catena Aurea - Gospel of Matthew

  • MR] — none of which exist, except in the figure of prosopopeia — but the materiality of an inscription.

    Professing Literature: John Guillory's Misreading of Paul de Man


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  • "As someone who was trained in advertising, Warhol had mastered many of the tools of expert propagandists. One such device is prosopopeia, a rather literary term for what happens when the Pillsbury Doughboy persuades you to buy a bread product by giggling so charmingly after that poke to his puffy little tummy. Prosopopeia is the personification of an abstraction. As theorist Barbara Johnson says in her book Persons and Things, 'A speaking thing can sell itself; if the purchaser responds to the speech of the object, he or she feels uninfluenced by human manipulation and therefore somehow not duped. We are supposed not to notice how absurd it is to be addressed by the Maalox Max bottle, or Mr. Clean, or Mrs. Butterworth.'"

    -- Andy Warhol Would Have Loved Sarah Palin -- the Ultimate Soup Can

    September 19, 2008

  • A rhetorical figure by which an imaginary or absent person is represented as speaking or acting; the introduction of a pretended speaker.

    February 25, 2008