Powers of Expression, Expressions of Power: Speech Presentation and Latin Literature

Powers of Expression, Expressions of Power: Speech Presentation and Latin Literature

Powers of Expression, Expressions of Power: Speech Presentation and Latin Literature

Powers of Expression, Expressions of Power: Speech Presentation and Latin Literature

Synopsis

Can a speaker's words ever be faithfully reported? History, philosophy, ethnography, political theory, linguistics, and literary criticism all involve debates about discourse and presentation. By drawing from Plato's theory of discourse, the lively analysis of speech presentation in this book provides a coherent and original contribution to these debates.

Excerpt

There is no work by Plato and there never will be. the things said here belong to Socrates when he was young and in his prime. Farewell and obey me--as soon as you have read and reread this letter a number of times, burn it.

('Plato', Second Letter)

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book she was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations 'and what is the use of a book' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?'

(Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland)

This chapter has two principal aims. One is to give a full account of the forms in which spoken and thought discourse can be presented in narrative. These various forms of presenting discourse will be called 'speech modes'. the other aim is to show how speech presentation has a major role in determining the way a narrative represents--or constructs--a world. the notion of literary language is of central relevance to both these concerns.

3.1 narrative and literature

The observations made in the previous chapter generally apply to literary and non-literary narratives alike. All narratives, whether factual or fictional, whether in writing or conversation, can be seen to have stories. All narratives inevitably generate 'story worlds' which intersect in various ways with the world we experience. Thus all narratives have a representational function, however we may conceive it. All narratives are constituted by a reception of some kind, whether they are heard, read, or constructed privately by an . . .

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