The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018
Omniscient point of view
Omniscient point of view: A third-person point of view in fictional writing that permits the author to present not only external details and information through an all-knowing narrator but also the inner thoughts and emotions of all of the characters of a work. The omniscient narrator is frequently described as “godlike.” Authors writing from the omniscient point of view may reveal — or conceal — at their discretion. Shifts in time and place as well as shifts from the viewpoint of one character to another are common. Moreover, the omniscient point of view enables an author to comment openly upon the action or theme of the work. An omniscient narrator who makes valuative judgments is considered intrusive, whereas one who generally refrains from doing so is called unintrusive. A large number of the works that have traditionally been considered classics are written from the omniscient point of view — for example, Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Leo Tolstoi’s War and Peace (1864—66) (both intrusive) and Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857) (unintrusive).