Is there any technical term for a type of reading that focuses on minor characters in a literary work? For example, a type of reading that focuses on the character of Polonius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet or on the character of Jordan Baker from The Great Gatsby.

1 Answer 1


This would probably be what is called a parallel novel. Common examples include Wide Sargasso Sea, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Grendel. To quote wikipedia:

These stories further the works of already well-known novels by focusing on a minor character and making them the major character

so it seems to be exactly what you're looking for.

  • 2
    I like this answer, but I'm not sure if this is what the author of the question is looking for? It almost sounds like they're asking if there is a name for the process of rereading a story but focusing on the characters who aren't central to the plot.
    – Lockjaw
    Jun 30, 2019 at 18:56
  • @Lockjaw Ah, I see what you mean. I'll look for that term, I suppose, but I'm not entirely sure it exists =)
    – auden
    Jun 30, 2019 at 19:40
  • R&G are Dead isn't a novel.
    – verbose
    Apr 15, 2021 at 23:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.