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Sandro Botticelli's painting of the Adoration of the Magi has an inserted self-portrait at the far right: the position in the corner and the gaze out to the viewer are very typical of such self-portraits.
Sandro Botticelli's painting of the Adoration of the Magi has an inserted self-portrait at the far right: the position in the corner and the gaze out to the viewer are very typical of such self-portraits.

Self-insertion is the literary device to have a fictional character represent the author of a work of fiction, either overtly or in disguise.[1]


In art, the equivalent of self-insertion is the inserted self-portrait, where the artist includes a self-portrait in a painting of a narrative subject. This has been a common artistic device since at least the European Renaissance.

This literary device should not be confused with a first-person narrator, an author surrogate,[clarification needed] or a character somewhat based on the author, whether the author included it intentionally or not. Many characters have been described as unintentional self-insertions, implying that their author is unconsciously using them as an author surrogate.[citation needed]

In newer forms of fiction, it may be the audience rather than the author who are intended to insert themselves into the fiction. In video games, there are normally player characters (who are sometimes customizable) to serve this purpose, but there are also games with "self-insert characters" who are portrayed especially blandly or as "silent protagonists" to allow players to better identify with them.[2] In fan fiction, "self-insert",[3] "X-insert" or "reader-insert" fiction has the reader appear as a character in the story; their name is substituted with "you" or "y/n" ("your name").[4]


See also


  1. ^ Goetz, Sharon K. (1 April 2010). Terminus: Collected Papers on Harry Potter, 7-11 August 2008. pp. 516–. ISBN 9780982680704. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  2. ^ Clarke, Mary (23 September 2021). "Deltarune Chapter 2's chilling alternate route has changed how I think about playing video games". For The Win / USA Today. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  3. ^ He, Tianxiang (2017). Copyright and fan productivity in China : a cross-jurisdictional perspective. Singapore: Springer. p. 79. ISBN 978-981-10-6508-8. OCLC 1006587497.
  4. ^ "The A to Z of fan fiction". Inquirer Lifestyle. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  5. ^ Mason, Fran (2009). The A to Z of Postmodernist Literature and Theater. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 338–. ISBN 9780810868557. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  6. ^ Klinkowitz, Jerome (1992). Structuring the Void: The Struggle for Subject in Contemporary American Fiction. Duke University Press. pp. 52–. ISBN 9780822312055. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  7. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Dirk Pitt Revealed | An Official Web Site for Bestselling Adventure Novelist | Author Clive Cussler".
  9. ^ Bill Watterson. The complete Calvin and Hobbes Book One Introduction.

This page was last edited on 30 October 2021, at 17:23
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