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A Spectacular Failure

Robinson Crusoe I, II, III


Virginia La Grand

This study examines Defoe’s three-volume Robinson Crusoe series in the light of the ‘banter’ style he developed as a pamphleteer. That heavily ironic style had brought him renown but also put him in the pillory. The present study explores for the first time Defoe’s complaint that readers and pirate abridgers misread his tale of the would-be trader Robinson Crusoe. Using Discourse Analysis and Relevance Theory to examine the early abridgements of Volume I and Defoe’s subsequent two volumes, this study argues that Defoe’s greatest success is also a peculiar failure.


Edited by Karl Simms

This volume contains nineteen essays — eighteen here presented for the first time — exploring the question of subjectivity as seen from a linguistic perspective. Part I concerns the relationship between the linguistic subject, particularly the grammatical first person, and the subject in more general sense of ‘person'. Topics covered include deixis, verbal marking and temporalisation, and performatives. Part II concerns the relationship of subjectivity to the experience of reading, and as such considers the semiotics of both literary and non-literary texts, inter-modal representation, authorship and intertextuality. The essays in the volume are principally influenced by the thinking of Saussure, Jakobson, Guillaume, Benveniste, Wittgenstein, Barthes and Deleuze, and the book will appeal to scholars with an interest in theoretical linguistics, semiotics, discourse, analysis and philosophy of language. Karl Simms provides comprehensive introductions to each of the parts, making the book accessible to inform general readers with an interest in cultural and communication studies.

Short Story Theories

A Twenty-First-Century Perspective


Edited by Viorica Patea

Short Story Theories: A Twenty-First-Century Perspective problematizes different aspects of the renewal and development of the short story. The aim of this collection is to explore the most recent theoretical issues raised by the short story as a genre and to offer theoretical and practical perspectives on the form. Centering as it does on specific authors and on the wider implications of short story poetics, this collection presents a new series of essays that both reinterpret canonical writers of the genre and advance new critical insights on the most recent trends and contemporary authors. Theorizations about genre reflect on different aspects of the short story from a multiplicity of perspectives and take the form of historical and aesthetic considerations, gender-centered accounts, and examinations that attend to reader-response theory, cognitive patterns, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, postcolonial studies, postmodern techniques, and contemporary uses of minimalist forms. Looking ahead, this collection traces the evolution of the short story from Chaucer through the Romantic writings of Poe to the postmodern developments and into the twenty-first century.
This volume will prove of interest to scholars and graduate students working in the fields of the short story and of literature in general. In addition, the readability and analytical transparence of these essays make them accessible to a more general readership interested in fiction.


Beatrijs Vanacker

In Altérité et identité dans les « histoires anglaises » au XVIIIe siècle. Contexte(s), réception et discours Beatrijs Vanacker offers new insights into the widespread Anglomania-movement that pervaded French literary and cultural life during the 18th century. She examines the ambivalent discourse on literary and cultural “Englishness” as it took form in a wide array of non-fictional textual practices (French travel literature, literary journals,…). She also analyses the sociocultural and literary dynamics at work in a corpus of histoires angloises, by making use of concepts drawn from the fields of discourse analysis and Imagology.

Dans Altérité et identité dans les « histoires anglaises » au XVIIIe siècle. Contexte(s), réception et discours Beatrijs Vanacker présente une vue inédite sur le mouvement d’Anglomanie qui a inondé la littérature et la culture françaises au XVIIIe siècle. Cet ouvrage contient une étude du discours ambivalent au sujet de l’anglicité, littéraire et culturelle, tel qu’il prit forme dans les récits de voyage et les journaux littéraires en France, et présente une analyse des dynamismes socio-culturels et littéraires mis en œuvre dans un corpus d’histoires angloises, ayant recours à des concepts de l’analyse du discours et de l’Imagologie.


Wojtek Jezierski

This article should be seen as an attempt to put the early medieval chronicles in a more theoretical frame concerning identity formation and creation of historical tradition. The empirical examples are provided by two tenth-century chronicles: Chronicon Æthelweardi by Æthelweard of Wessex, and Res gestae Saxonicae by Widukind of Corvey. As the theoretical frame serve the conclusions and ideas taken from the research on collective memory, discourse analysis, and a more general reasoning about the affinity between knowledge and power. In effect, the article illustrates not only those mechanisms and literary strategies, but also, more broadly, demonstrates the pointlessness of common accusations of medieval historiography’s failure in its pursuit of objectivity. Partiality was the raison d’être of medieval chronicles, and, it is argued, our research should focus more on its appearances.


Robert A. Troyer

This paper presents a discourse analysis framework that can be applied to dialogue in fiction. Based on an elaboration of Halliday’s functional approach to conversational interaction combined with traditional conversation and discourse analysis and speech act theory, the framework posits a hierarchical categorization of opening and responding speech moves. When applied to fictional dialogue, this analytical method offers a descriptive apparatus that can be simple or complex depending on one’s needs (i.e., pedagogical or research oriented) while also providing insight for interpretation of character interaction. The major strength of the approach is its ability to capture not isolated speech acts, but the interactive nature of conversation – the verbal dance of dialogue between characters in a narrative. Initiating and continuing speech moves (both verbal and non-verbal) with various discourse functions are followed by responding moves that can be grouped into the two broad classes of supporting or confronting. Quantificational analysis of such description provides empirical support for readers’ intuitions about conversational exchanges.

As a sample analysis, the framework is applied to all of the dialogue in the short story ‘What You Pawn I Will Redeem’ by Sherman Alexie (2004). This particular story, with its fourteen distinct conversational interactions between the main character and a variety of other characters of differing degrees of status and solidarity, provides an ideal demonstration of the proposed method of analysis. The main character, a homeless Native American Indian in Seattle, Washington, exhibits distinctly different patterns of discourse or conversational styles in his interactions with friends, strangers, and acquaintances of higher status. Such discoursal indications of power and solidarity are not only inherent in the dialogue, but central to the story’s broader themes of the individual’s role in society as well as distinctly Native American concerns for heritage and preservation of cultural identity. In keeping with the descriptive perspective of conversation analysis though, generalizations about interaction in different situations should only serve as guidelines – likewise, the power of stylistic analysis lies in its ability to help interpret the linguistic subtleties of a given text. This study demonstrates that analysis of the discourse functions of speech moves in the dialogue of fictional narratives serves the purposes of explication, which are central to stylistics and literary study.


Edited by Robert Sullivan and Arthur E. Walzer

his own translation of the discourse. Analysis of Elyot’s translation in comparison to Erasmus’ Latin translation indicates that there is very little, if any, influence of one upon the other. Though Elyot would surely have read Erasmus’ Institutio with the appended Latin translation and perhaps

Conrad’s Narrative Voice

Stylistic Aspects of His Fiction


Werner Senn

Werner Senn’s Conrad’s Narrative Voice draws on the methodology of linguistic stylistics and the analysis of narrative discourse to discuss Joseph Conrad’s perception of the role and the limitations of language. Tracing recurrent linguistic patterns allows Senn to demonstrate that Conrad’s view of the radical indeterminacy of the world is conveyed on the most basic levels of the author’s (often criticised) verbal style but permeates his work at all levels of the narrative. Detailed stylistic analysis also reveals the importance, to Conrad, of the spoken word, of oral communication. Senn argues that the narrators’ compulsive efforts to make their readers see and understand reflect Conrad’s ethics of human solidarity in a world he depicts as hostile, enigmatic and often senseless.


Mariangela Palladino

context of discourse analysis; I will then move on to theories and examples of ethical narrative; and will conclude by looking at “narrative ethics”, its definition and articulation. Pragmatics: Ethics and Discourse In order to investigate the different ways in which the ethical is inscribed in narrative


Mariangela Palladino

new grounds in body studies, but it also openly engages with other critical approaches: the reference to propositions and statements plainly calls into questions philosophy of language, pragmatics and discourse analysis. As my analysis aims to demonstrate, Morrison’s literary representations of the