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Deixis and fictional minds

Semino, Elena (2011) Deixis and fictional minds. Style, 45 (3). pp. 418-440. ISSN 0039-4238

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    In this essay I show how marked patterns in the use of deictic expressions in literary texts can contribute to the projection of fictional minds that appear to work in “nonstandard” or “unorthodox” ways. More specifically, I suggest that the inherent “egocentricity” of deictic expressions can be exploited to represent strikingly “egocentric” fictional minds. I discuss in detail two examples from different genres: the poetic persona in Ted Hughes’s poem “Wodwo”, and the first-person narrator in Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. In each case, I point out the presence of patterns in the use of deictic expressions that can be described as idiosyncratic, and I argue that these patterns interact with other textual phenomena to contribute to the impression of a fictional mind that works in a striking and distinctive way. My claims about the idiosyncratic use of certain types of deictic expressions in the two texts are supported by automatic quantitative comparisons with relevant larger corpora.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Style
    Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
    Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
    ID Code: 39950
    Deposited By: Dr Elena Semino
    Deposited On: 14 Mar 2011 09:42
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 07 Jan 2015 15:53
    Identification Number:

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