© 2018

Pronouns in Literature

Positions and Perspectives in Language

  • Alison Gibbons
  • Andrea Macrae

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Jan Alber
    Pages 131-150
  3. Henrik Skov Nielsen
    Pages 217-234
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 245-279

About this book


‘Jakobson taught us to think of pronouns as shifters, but this volume makes it clearer than ever how very shifty they are. Read these essays to see how much hinges on them in plays, poems and prose narratives both natural and unnatural.’
- Brian McHale, The Ohio State University, USA and Editor of Poetics Today

‘This work masterfully evidences the centrality of personal pronouns in positioning and engaging readers. It foregrounds the ethical and poetical implications of these amazingly dynamic tools which can both challenge social world views and remap genre boundaries.’
- Sandrine Sorlin, Aix-Marseille University, France

'Pronouns in Literature: Positions and Perspectives in Language is a stimulating, superbly edited collection which both showcases the liveliest current scholarship in this area, from an impressively wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds, and establishes exciting new pathways for future research.'
- Joe Bray, University of Sheffield, UK

This edited collection brings together an international, interdisciplinary group of scholars who together offer cutting-edge insights into the complex roles, functions, and effects of pronouns in literary texts. The book engages with a range of text-types, including poetry, drama, and prose from different periods and regions, in English and in translation. Beginning with analyses of the first-person pronoun, it moves onto studies of the subject dynamics of first- and second-person, before considering plural modes of narration and how pronoun use can help to disperse narrative perspective. The volume then debates the functional constraints of pronouns in fictional contexts and finally reflects upon the theoretical advancements presented in the collection. This innovative volume will appeal to students and scholars of linguistics, stylistics and cognitive poetics, narratology, theoretical and applied linguistics, psychology and literary criticism.

Alison Gibbons is a Reader in Contemporary Stylistics at Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Andrea Macrae is a Senior Lecturer in Stylistics at Oxford Brookes University, UK. 


pronouns narratology cognitive stylistics Literary Stylistics syntactic structure Literary linguistics corpus linguistics Deixis Text World Theory metalepsis indefinite pronouns polyvocal narration Autonarration second-person fiction Hamlet Shakespeare Langston Hughes Post-apartheid Literature postcolonial literature Ben Lerner

Editors and affiliations

  • Alison Gibbons
    • 1
  • Andrea Macrae
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesSheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of English Literature and Modern LanguagesOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Alison Gibbons is Reader in Contemporary Stylistics at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. She is the author of Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature (2012), co-author of Contemporary Stylistics: Language, Interpretation, Cognition (2018), and co-editor of Mark Z. Danielewski (2011), Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (2012), and Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, and Depth after Postmodernism (2017).

Andrea Macrae is Senior Lecturer in Stylistics at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She specialises in deixis and has published work on pronouns in the Journal of Literary Semantics (2010), the journal Diegesis (2016), and in The Pragmatics of Personal Pronouns (2015) and Texts and Minds (2012). 

Bibliographic information


“when going through Pronouns in Literature: Positions and Perspectives in Language, readers will find themselves on a magical tour of communicating with characters and narrators in literary texts of different times and regions. Due to the unique character and the flexible facet of pronouns in literature, this innovative volume will definitely appeal to students and scholars of linguistics, theoretical and applied linguistics, stylistics and cognitive poetics, psychology, narratology and literary criticism.” (Yanli Jia, Language and Literature, August, 2018)