I have searched for the origins and earliest instances of the third person limited viewpoint (TPL), but almost nobody talks about that. I got tired of seeing articles saying "Harry Potter is an example"... and everyone says it probably started in early XX Century.

I see Agatha Christie wrote "And then there were none" in 3rd person limited. It was published in 1939.

"1984" by George Orwell is said to be in 3rd person limited, but that's 1949 already.

There's prior art in the previous century. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" was written in 1885; Chekhov's "The Bet" was published in 1889.

What are the oldest famous stories which benefit from the use of 3rd person limited and their year(s) of conception?

Because it is possible for one to read TPL stories without realizing the point of view is different from omniscient — I think it is even possible to write them without having a conscious distinction in mind —, it would be tremendously interesting to know when the distinction appeared in literary theory. I think the teaching of TPL was probably the main reason most authors became aware of it! So what was the first theory book that affirmed the existence of third person limited?

In short: How can we sketch the history of the rise of TPL?

Bonus question: If we discover that this viewpoint became popular circa the 1930s, can we seriously dismiss the theory of "cinema-zation" of literature? In other words, I find it interesting that the third person omniscient viewpoint dominated literature for ages, and then when cinema became popular literature got this new viewpoint which has basically made omniscient demodée.

  • According to shmoop the 14th century "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" is mostly 3rd person limited. But strictly speaking that doesn't answer the question even if you ignore the "mostly", because it's not a novel. The first novel is considered "Robinson Crusoe" from 1719 (which is 1st person), so the first 3rd person limited novel will be later than that.
    – user54131
    Sep 30, 2022 at 19:36
  • I think I should accept any stories, long or short (not just novels), as long as the third person limited technique is prominent. Sep 30, 2022 at 19:43
  • Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 30, 2022 at 21:09
  • Edited the question. Oct 1, 2022 at 0:01
  • This question is asking two questions: one that probably has answer and a second question that seems to be wanting to create a discussion — namely about cinema-zation of literature. May it shoudl be broke into two questions.
    – EDL
    Oct 1, 2022 at 5:09


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