(redirected from monologuist)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.


an extended speech by one person only. Strindberg's one-act play The Stronger, spoken entirely by one person, is an extreme example of monologue. Soliloquy is synonymous, but usually refers to a character in a play talking or thinking aloud to himself, giving the audience information essential to the plot. The most obvious example is Hamlet's "To be or not to be …" soliloquy. The dramatic monologue is a lyric poem in which one person speaks, reporting to a silent listener what other characters say and do, while providing insight into his own character, e.g., Browning's "My Last Duchess" and T. S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Interior monologue is a narrative technique meant to reproduce a character's thoughts, feelings, and associations in the untidy fashion in which they flow through the mind. The Molly Bloom section at the end of James Joyce's novel Ulysses is the most frequently cited example of perfect use of the device.



(soliloquy), a form of speech which, unlike the dialogue, is completely or almost completely disassociated in both content and structure from the speech of an interlocutor. Compared to the repartee of the dialogue, the monologue is much more conventional in the choice of linguistic, compositional, and other resources, and as a rule, it has a more complex syntax. Because the monologue is encountered extremely rarely in everyday communication, L. V. Shcherba suggests that historically it was derived from the dialogue.

Monologues are used primarily in literature, speechmaking, television and radio broadcasts, and the classroom (lectures). In its linguistic, structural, and compositional organization, the monologue is far more complex than other speech forms. Its special features are studied in textual linguistics, which deals with the problem of the complex syntactical whole, the paragraph, and so forth.

In literature and the theater the monologue may be pan of an artistic work or a genre in itself. On stage or in motion pictures, the monologue is addressed by a character either to himself or to the audience and is divorced from the dialogue of the other characters. Often, the monologue is used to express the hero’s lyrical, philosophical, intimate, or polemical outpourings or his personal beliefs (the famous “To be or not to be” of Shakespeare’s Hamlet or “I cannot come to, I’m wrong” of Griboedov’s Chatskii) or to present events that preceded the play’s action or that are taking place offstage.

The monologue is characteristic of classical, baroque, Renaissance, and Neoclassical drama. It is particularly common in romantic drama, and it is encountered in monodrama and in contemporary nonrealistic drama. A special form of monologue-confession or monologue-exhortation is the lyric poem, especially the subjective lyric, which directly communicates the poet’s feelings and experiences. Narrative genres are often in the form of monologues—for example, the short story written in the first person, including the skaz (a story narrated by a fictional person whose point of view and manner of speech—often substandard—differ from the author’s; in Russian literature, the form was used by N. Leskov and M. Zoshchenko). However, “alien” words (elements of parody and polemics) are often present in the monologic narrative, bringing it closer to dialogue. The “internal monologue” or “stream of consciousness” became an important means of psychological characterization in realistic literature at the turn of the 20th century.


Voloshinov, V. N. [With the participation of M. M. Bakhtin.] Marksizm i filosofiia iazyka, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1930.
Vol’kenshtein, V. Dramaturgiia. Moscow, 1969.
Bakhtin, M. M. “Slovo u Dostoevskogo.” In his book Problemy poetiki Dostoevskogo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Korman, B. O. “Chuzhoe soznanie v lirike…. “Izvestiia AN SSSR: Otdelenie literatury i iazyka, vol. 32, 1973, issue 3.


1. a long speech made by one actor in a play, film, etc., esp when alone
2. a dramatic piece for a single performer
References in periodicals archive ?
Russo estimates that she and Sexton have gone through maybe half of Gray's journals, no small task given that the monologuist filled up pages for 40 years of his adult life.
Lanford Wilson's Eukiah was a monologue for its first seven minutes or so until the slightly retarded Eukiah comes out of hiding in the deserted building only to have his neck broken after calling the monologuist "Butch.
Two of the theatrical bright spots of the San Francisco Bay Area winter were provided by Josh Kornbluth, a balding, roly-poly monologuist who once upon a time was a Nation intern.
OW'S supporter Mike Daisey, the monologuist and raconteur, echoes Shepard: "The idea of creative resistance is a vital one, because resistance needs different paths.
The Center Theatre Group's project ``Solomania,'' a showcase of one-person performances at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, underscores the importance of presenting a monologuist with whom you would want to spend 90 minutes or so.
He brought local monologuist Josh Kornbluth's "Love and Taxes" to Off Broadway's Bank Street Theater recently and is now producing Kornbluth's "Ben Franklin: Unplugged" at the Magic.
Working with out stage director Chay Yew, Schmader is a seasoned monologuist and is quite comfortable in front of an audience.
With the publication of her short-story colloction At the Bottom of the River in 1984, Jamaica Kincaid became our premier monologuist about the Caribbean.
American Theatre's November cover subject, Taylor Mac, is also the face of the festival's brochure, and American monologuist Mike Daisey returns to his epic Monopoly
Currently, Alumit works for the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, lives in the "Swish Alps" of Silver Lake, and regularly performs as a monologuist.
Already, London theater itself is responding, with veteran monologuist Ken Campbell doing two perfs Sept.
Culture Clash will do a selection from ``Chavez Ravine'' Sunday, joining monologuist Heather Woodbury, who tackles the Brooklyn-to-L.