naive construction: (possessive proper name) + (generic screen role)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Feb 21 15:19:54 UTC 2008

2003 Emmett Early _The War Veteran in Film_ (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland) 8: In many cultures, the war veteran becomes a haunting symbol, such as Septimus Warren Smith's suicidal veteran in _Mrs. Dalloway_.

  Smith is the character; the role was played by Rupert Graves.  The quaintness of the name "Septimus Warren Smith" strongly suggests that the construction is not just a slip; the copy-editor evidently didn't question it.  Elsewhere Early  uses the construction correctly (e.g., "[Spencer] Tracy's Macreedy," p.18), but the variants are not necessarily inconsistent: each combines a personal name with a dramatic character, though in the Smith instance that character is generic.

  Dr. Early (born 1939) is a professional psychologist with the Seattle Veterans Administration.


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