‘A style which defies convention, tradition, homogeneity, prudence, and sometimes even syntax’: Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady and Edith Wharton’s The Age of InnocenceVol 9 No 2 (2020)
Lisa Nais (University of Aberdeen)
Combining the methods of linguistics and literary criticism, this article takes a fresh look at two texts that have been analysed ad nauseam: Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady and Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. I use James’s late style as a touchstone to compare and contrast the two texts. Analysing syntax by means of close textual analysis of the novels’ opening paragraphs as well as their metaphorical language, and employing the corpus analysis programme AntConc to survey the entire texts, I aim to show that James’s 1880 text anticipates his late style and Wharton’s 1920 text appropriates it to suit her own agenda. However, in respectively anticipating and appropriating this style, James and Wharton create different effects. James intensifies his female protagonist’s ‘world of thought and feeling’ (Eliot 1963: 56), creating a fictional world with literary equality for both genders, while Wharton subverts gender roles in a scathing critique of Gilded Age society, which did not allow for this other ‘world of thought and feeling’. In addition to positioning both novels as feminist, this article compares Wharton’s writing to James’s, but without presupposing the latter’s influence on the former. Instead, acknowledging the fluidity of style, I aim to put forward a convincing case that there are subtle differences that make these authors’ styles Jamesian and Whartonian, respectively.
‘To imagine a language means to imagine a form of life?’ A Discourse Analysis of English and German Reader Responses to Sex-/Gender-Neutral Language in The Cook and the CarpenterVol 9 No 1 (2020)
Christiane Luck (University College London)
Linguistic research and linguistic activism have resulted in key changes to official language use. However, revisions remain contested and many English and German speakers continue to employ male generic terms. In this article I explore whether the encounter with sex-/gender-neutral terminology in June Arnold’s novel The Cook and the Carpenter can prompt readers to review their language use and consider alternatives. Based on narrative research, my premise is that fiction can create familiarity with new terms, which is the first step toward wider linguistic change. I frame my investigation with Wittgenstein’s notion that ‘to imagine a language means to imagine a form of life’, and put it to the test with a discourse analysis of English and German reader responses. The results of my study show that Arnold’s novel stimulates fruitful debate around the issue of linguistic representation. Based on my findings, I propose to integrate literary texts which engage with the issue of sex/gender and language into educational settings to further promote neutral/inclusive language use.
‘He just isn’t my Frost’: The Television Adaptation of R.D. Wingfield’s Jack FrostVol 8 No 1 (2019)
Simon Statham (Queen’s University Belfast)
This article presents an analysis of the police television series A Touch of
Frost (Yorkshire Television, 1992) and the crime novels by Rodney Wingfield upon
which it is based. In order to analyse the way the protagonist, Inspector Jack Frost, is
characterised in either version, data is drawn from the pilot episode of the series and
Wingfield’s debut novel Frost at Christmas (1984). Wingfield was less than impressed
with television’s version of Frost, stating, ‘He just isn’t my Frost’. The rationale for this
article is to apply established models in stylistics to investigate the differences between
the original and the adaptation. A core motivation for stylistics is to ‘support initial
impressions in various extracts’ readings’ and to ‘describe the readers’ response with
some precision’ (Gregoriou 2007: 19); this article therefore offers a close linguistic
explanation for an author’s dissatisfaction with the adaptation of his own work. The
famously reticent Wingfield did not elaborate in detail on why he disapproved of the
television version of Frost, although several critics observed that Wingfield felt television
had ‘softened’ his creation. This article contends that ‘softness’ is represented in
language through politeness strategies adopted by speakers whilst impoliteness
represents the ‘tougher’ speech of Wingfield’s original iteration of Jack Frost. In order to
demonstrate this contention, this study will analyse pragmatic elements of the dialogue
of both novel and television versions of Frost through the analytical framework for
impoliteness developed by Culpeper (1996; 2010). This framework will be integrated
into the model for analysing the elements of narrative outlined by Simpson and
Montgomery (1995), in turn suggesting an elaboration of this model. In investigating
whether television’s Jack Frost is ‘softer’ than the character envisaged by Wingfield, free
direct speech and accompanying physical behaviour in novel and television adaptation
are analysed, focussing on whether the perceived softness of the latter has been partly
achieved by making the speech of Frost less impolite on television.
Overlapping Speech in Caryl Churchill’s Hot Fudge: Constructing Interactional and Interpersonal ContextsVol 7 No 3 (2018)
Andriy Ivanchenko (Chukyo University)
The script of Caryl Churchill’s short play Hot Fudge (like several other plays by
this author) contains detailed directions for overlapping conversation. At certain points in
the play these may be contributing to a number of effects similar to those described for
the naturally occurring ‘collaborative floor’, such as enthusiasm and mutual support. The
importance of an interactive approach to constructed conversation is pointed out in the
article, particularly that of analysing the overlapped speaker’s response to appreciate
the discursive significance of the overlapping turn. For instance, acknowledging and/or
reusing the other speaker’s overlapping formulations in a non-oppositional format can
show an understanding of these contributions as collaboratively oriented. Therefore,
such an interpretation of overlapping dialogue in a dramatic text will affect the reader’s
understanding of the interpersonal context (e.g. dominance-seeking/mutual
support/collaboration between pairs of speakers). In particular, this approach is taken to
show how certain kinds of overlapping similar to those described for the naturally
occurring conversation can be used dramatically to supportive rather than conflictive
ends. Overall, it is shown how the dramatic characters’ interpersonal orientations
become inferable from their use of certain dialogic options.
Fictional Creature PronominalizationVol 7 No 2 (2018)
Linda Flores Ohlson (University of Gothenburg)
In this article, pronominalization is analyzed in reference to the fantastic creatures in Guillermo del Toro’s novels: the trilogy The Strain (del Toro & Hogan 2009; 2010; 2011), Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Blackwood’s Guide to Dangerous Fairies (del Toro & Golden 2011), and Trollhunters (del Toro & Kraus 2015). The analysis is based on the notion that an intricate connection between human and nonhuman fictional characters is created and expressed through specific usages of pronouns.
Immersion in Digital FictionVol 7 No 1 (2018)
Alice Bell (Sheffield Hallam University), Astrid Ensslin (University of Alberta), Isabelle van der Bom (Sheffield Hallam University) & Jen Smith (Sheffield Hallam University)
In this article, we profile what we define as an “empirical cognitive poetic” approach to immersion in digital fiction by combining text-driven stylistic analysis with insights from theories of cognition and an empirical study. We provide empirically substantiated insights to show how immersion is experienced cognitively and site-specifically by using Andy Campbell and Judi Alston’s (2015) digital fiction installation WALLPAPER as a case study. Our approach is unique in that it marks the first systematic attempt at analysing immersive features in digital fiction using a replicable method and, perhaps more importantly, at empirically investigating these immersive features. While current theories of immersion suggest that it is a completely absorbing experience, we show that immersion is an intermittent process, stimulated by multiple immersive features which interact. We also argue that any investigation into immersion in digital media must address the doubly-embodied nature of that reading experience and propose the category of ‘doubly-deictic I’ to define first-person pronoun use that signals double-situatedness. We empirically verify that immersion in digital fiction can be categorised as either narrative or ludic immersion. However, we also show that spatio-temporal immersion must take place before any other forms of immersion can. We also offer a new analytical method for immersive features in digital fiction by developing deictic shift theory for the affordances of digital media. We add the categories of ‘interactional deixis’ and ‘audio deixis’ to account for the multimodal nature of immersion in digital fiction. We also show how extra-textual features can contribute to or enhance immersion and thus propose that they should be accounted for when analysing immersion across media. While we focus on one case-study in this article, we suggest that the analytical framework and reader response protocol we have developed can be applied to other texts.
Research Agendas in Literary LinguisticsVol 6 No 1 (2017)
Edited by Anja Müller-Wood (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) and Christoph Unger (Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim)
This special issue brings together articles based on papers given at the First Literary Linguistics Conference: Research Agendas in Literary Linguistics, held in April 2015 at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Embracing a wide range of methodologies, applied to an equally diverse selection of literary sources, the present papers provide an illuminating survey of the field of literary linguistics and will hopefully inspire further research.
Processing Effort and Poetic ClosureVol 5 No 4 (2016)
Nigel Fabb (University of Strathclyde)
Smith (1968) argues that poems may end with formal changes which produce an experience of closure in the reader. I argue that formal changes do not directly cause an experience of closure. Instead, changes in poetic form always demand increased processing effort from the reader, whether they involve new forms, shifts from more to less regular form, or from less to more regular form. I use relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995) to argue that the increased processing effort encourages the reader to formulate rich and relevant thoughts, including the thought 'this poem has closure'. Closure is thus the content of a thought rather than a type of experience. I further argue that 'closure' is a term whose meaning cannot be fully understood, which makes the thought 'this poem has closure' into a schematic belief of the kind which Sperber shows has great richness and productivity. This is one of the reasons that the thought 'this poem has closure' achieves sufficient relevance to justify the effort put into processing the end of the poem.
Current Issues in the Linguistic Analysis of Literary TranslationVol 5 No 3 (2016)
Edited by Leena Kolehmainen (University of Eastern Finland), Esa Penttilä (University of Eastern Finland) and Piet van Poucke (Ghent University)
This special issue contains seven state-of-the-art contributions on the current linguistic study of literary translation. The articles discuss questions of translation as a special process of text production and explore linguistic properties of translated texts. Themes addressed cover a wide spectrum of issues including the use of neologisms, features of spoken discourse, individual and societal multilingualism, and grammatical categories such as the passive voice. These phenomena are studied from the perspective of previously formulated hypotheses and general claims of translation that are related to, for example, retranslation, indirect translation, and translation universals. When analyzed from the multidisciplinary perspective that is prevailing in the articles of this special issue, they can offer new insights not only for translation researchers but also for linguists and literary scholars.
Approaches to Fictional DialogueVol 5 No 2 (2016)
Edited by Aino Koivisto and Elise Nykänen (University of Helsinki)
This special issue is devoted to a cross-disciplinary investigation of a specific literary phenomenon, fictional dialogue. Fictional dialogue is used to refer to passages of character-character conversation within a literary text. More specifically, the articles of the issue deal with fictional dialogue as a narrative mode in prose fiction. The issue aims to engender an appreciation and a better understanding of the workings of dialogue by drawing on the insights and methods from both literary studies and linguistics. These methods include a rhetorical-ethical approach to narrative, cognitive and “natural” narratology, the study of everyday conversational storytelling, and Conversation Analysis (CA). Combining these methods helps us to understand that while dialogue is a central means to depict character-character relationships it also serves other levels of communication in a narrative and thus contributes to the reader's comprehension of the narrative design's rhetorical and ethical dimensions. The articles also suggest that while understanding dialogue depends partly on the reader’s experiences of real-life conversation, the interpretation of dialogue is determined by the overall design of a literary text and the historically changing conventions.
Metaphors we may not live byVol 5 No 1 (2016)
David Lowell Hoover (New York University)
Metaphors We Live By created an immediate stir in 1980, and it continues to spur interest in cognitive linguistics, cognitive stylistics, and metaphor theory. This article uses both collocations and random samples of words used in conceptual metaphors to search for corpus evidence of the pervasiveness of conceptual metaphor that was unavailable to Lakoff and Johnson. Some metaphors, such as TIME IS MONEY, are pervasive in giant natural language corpora. Others, such as MORE IS UP, are frequent in clearly and consciously metaphorical forms, but relatively rare in the basic forms that would clearly show that we use metaphor to understand more abstract concepts in terms of concrete ones. Some, including ARGUMENT IS WAR, that Lakoff and Johnson discuss throughout their book, are poorly represented. Some gaps in evidence probably result from multiple ways of expressing a complex conceptual metaphors, but others suggest that intuitive plausibility is an insecure basis for argument.
Fraud and Fairy TalesVol 4 No 1 (2015)
Florian Hiß (The Artic University of Norway)
Most of us receive numerous spam e-mails, texts that in one or the other way try to convince us to engage in the transaction of enormous sums of money, promising enormous benefits. In reality, such scam e-mails are fraudulent attempts to swindle money from unsuspecting Internet users. Language, its social contexts, and the composition of texts play a crucial role in the scammers’ strategies to approach their victims. This article uncovers and discusses some of the linguistic strategies by which scammers try to shape a sense of identity and mutual relationship – in the face of virtual anonymity –, and to involve their readers personally. In their attempts to get the recipients involved, scammers combine cultural indexicals, interactional roles, and narrative strategies. The analysis distinguishes three different narrative strategies in scam e-mails: Based on first, second, and third person stories, scammers establish links with the recipients by combining fictional content with real-world contexts. Some of the narratives display quite elaborate and artful traits and involve prototypical functions of traditional fairy tales. Hereby they implicitly connect the story content with the interactional roles of e-mail communication.
"Do You Read Me?" Metaphor as a Pathway to the Conceptualisation of Literary IdentityVol 3 No 1 (2014)
Julia Vaeßen and Timo Lothmann (RWTH Aachen)
Establishing coherent identity patterns for literary characters in novels is a difficult task. In this respect, we assume that readers rely on pre-stored cultural models in order to construct mental models of the text content, including character identity. By significantly extending the approach by Van Dijk and Kintsch and going beyond the related accounts of Schneider and of Culpeper, we aim to clarify the constitutive role of conceptual metaphor as proposed by Lakoff et al. in processes of literary identity construction. The analysis of a corpus of three contemporary novels supports our claim that conceptual metaphors and the mapping of domains involved interact with cultural models and connect text phenomena to such prior knowledge structures. On this basis, we provide an integrated model of literary identity construction which acknowledges the constitutive value of conceptual metaphors in literary identity construction.
Literary Linguistics: The Challenge of Cognition IVol 2 No 1 (2013)