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In recent years there has been an increasing realization that language and literature are, so to speak, socioculturally consubstantial. Accordingly literary scholars and linguists now often define their interests in sociohistorical terms, and the 'lang.-lit.' divide is giving way to shared concerns which are interdisciplinary between the three poles: poetics, linguistics, society. To illustrate and consolidate this new interdisciplinarity, the editors of this volume have collected a number of articles specially written by an international team of scholars, including figures of the highest international distinction. Key interdisciplinary terms such as contextualization, addressivity, and convention are subjected to critical scrutiny and applied to particular texts. Some of the most widely canvassed theories of communication and literature, particularly Sperber and Wilson's relevance theory and Bakhtin's sociolinguistic poetics, are carefully assessed and extended to new areas. And there are contextualizing approaches to phenomena such as genre, historical genre modulation, irony, metaphor, Modernist impersonality, unreliable narration, informal style, and literary gossip.
The book's argument is carefully structured. An extensive introduction outlines the general background of ideas and the thirteen articles are grouped into four main sections, linked together by a clear line of questioning and discussion which is made explicit in sectional introductions.
The book is addressed to established scholars, postgraduate students, and advanced undergraduates who are interested in linguistics, literary theory, literary criticism, and sociocultural history and searching for ways of bringing these branches of learning into synergetic relation with each other.