The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction: The Linguistic Representation of Speech and Consciousness

The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction: The Linguistic Representation of Speech and Consciousness

The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction: The Linguistic Representation of Speech and Consciousness

The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction: The Linguistic Representation of Speech and Consciousness

Synopsis

Monika Fludernik presents a detailed analysis of free indirect discourse as it relates to narrative theory, and the crucial problematic of how speech and thought are represented in fiction.
Building on the insights of Ann Banfield's Unspeakable Sentences, Fludernik radically extends Banfield's model to accommodate evidence from conversational narrative, non-fictional prose and literary works from Chaucer to the present.
Fludernik's model subsumes earlier insights into the forms and functions of quotation and aligns them with discourse strategies observable in the oral language. Drawing on a vast range of literature, she provides an invaluable resource for researchers in the field and introduces English readers to extensive work on the subject in German as well as comparing the free indirect discourse features of German, French and English.
This study effectively repositions the whole area between literature and linguistics, opening up a new set of questions in narrative theory.

Excerpt

The present volume grew out of a long-standing interest in narrative theory and in the central problematic of speech and thought representation in fiction. Initially I was planning to re-analyse the bases of Ann Banfield's speakerless sentence theory as presented most fully in her 1982 classic study Unspeakable Sentences. Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction, and, possibly, to refute it. Despite its very obvious advance over competing theories, Banfield's model at the same time involved itself in some insoluble contradictions when applied to pre-late-nineteenth-century texts, particularly those of the classic omniscient narrator tradition. Banfield's linguistically based theses directly undermined the theoretical model of communicative levels and instances that is generally accepted by narratologists from Genette to Stanzel, Bal, Chatman or Rimmon-Kenan. It therefore became an imperative task to take Banfield's linguistics very seriously indeed in order to ascertain the validity of her model as a basis for restructuring narratology. Alternatively, if Banfield's propositions could be demonstrated to have more limited applicability-as has indeed turned out to be the case-the question would still remain of how far narrative modes of speech and thought representation could actually be accounted for within a consistent narrative paradigm.

In the course of my research into these initial questions I have come to use a variety of linguistic approaches beyond the standard Chomskyan paradigm on which Banfield's study is predicated. In particular I have profited from more recent pragmatic analyses of syntactic phenomena. In addition to pragmatics, discourse analysis has provided a crucial reorientation of the original perspectives of the project, allowing me to deal with speech and thought representation in language rather than in (merely) narrative, and literary fiction at that. In the wake of these linguistic influences the more purely narratological perspectives receded into the background and gave way to some searching questions about the place of oral or naturally occurring narrative in the discipline called narratology, which has so far been almost exclusively concerned with the literary canon and popular writing. In spite of numerous attempts to deal with narrative as a cognitive structure, oral storytelling has largely been ignored in the rush towards locating a narrative deep structure in painting, theatre or film. To posit the question of what the specific characteristics of written narrative consist in and to determine what

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