Advertisement

Genes of Difficulty: The Indicators

  • Davide Castiglione
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter minutely describes the model that subtitles the book, enabling other scholars to apply it consistently. The skeleton of the model rests on an intuitive distinction between RIDs (Readerly Indicators of Difficulty) and LIDs (Linguistic Indicators of Difficulty). Within an experimental setting, these may be conceived of as the two global variables of difficulty. RIDs are, for instance, statements of rejection, longer reading times and markers of interpretive hesitation. A total of thirty-three LIDs are identified and discussed, ranging from orthography to discourse (e.g. misspelt words, syntactic ambiguity and lack of narrativity). Prototypical effects are suggested for each LID based on the processing operations they are most likely to challenge. This implies that the model allows to predict readerly reactions based on linguistic description.

Bibliography

  1. Adamson, S. (1999). The Literary Language. In S. Romaine (Ed.), The Cambridge History of the English Language, 4, 1776–The Present Day (pp. 589–692). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alonso, P. (2014). The Role of Cognitive Coherence in Non-Expert Processes of Literary Discourse Reception. Journal of Literary Semantics, 43(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Altieri, C. (1999 [1978]) The Objectivist Tradition. In R. Blau DuPlessis & P. Quartermain (Eds.), The Objectivist Nexus: Essays in Cultural Poetics (pp. 25–36). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, C. R., & Davison, A. (1988). Conceptual and Empirical Bases of Readability Formulas. In A. Davison & G. M. Green (Eds.), Linguistic Complexity and Text Comprehension: Readability Issues Reconsidered (pp. 23–53). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Attridge, D. (1988). Unpacking the Portmanteau, or Who’s Afraid of Finnegans Wake? In J. Culler (Ed.), On Puns (pp. 140–155). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. Austin, T. R. (1986). (In)transitives. Some Thoughts on Ambiguity in Poetic Texts. Journal of Literary Semantics, 15(1), 23–38.Google Scholar
  7. Bernstein, C. (2004 [1987]). The Sophist. Cambridge: Salt Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Biber, D., & Conrad, S. (2009). Register, Genre, and Style. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Biber, D., Finegan, E., Johansson, S., Conrad, S., & Leech, G. (2002). Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
  10. Bloom, H. (1973). The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bowie, M. (1978). Mallarmé and the Art of Being Difficult. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Brooke-Rose, C. (1958). A Grammar of Metaphor. London: Secker and Walburg.Google Scholar
  13. Caink, A. (2014). The Art of Repetition in Muriel Spark’s Telling. In S. Chapman & B. Clark (Eds.), Pragmatic Literary Stylistics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Carney, J. (2008). “Unweaving the Rainbow”: The Semantic Organization of the Lyric. Journal of Literary Semantics, 37, 33–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carroll, G., Conklin, K., Guy, J., & Scott, R. (2015). Processing Punctuation and Word Changes in Different Editions of Prose Fiction. Scientific Study of Literature, 5(2), 200–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carter, R. (1998 [1987]). Vocabulary. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Castiglione, D. (2013). The Semantics of Difficult Poems: Deriving a Checklist of Linguistic Phenomena. Journal of Literary Semantics, 42(1), 115–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Castiglione, D. (2017). Difficult Poetry Processing: Reading Times and the Narrativity Hypothesis. Language and Literature, 26(2), 99–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chafe, W. (1991). Sources of Difficulty in the Processing of Written Language. In A. C. Purves (Ed.), The Idea of Difficulty in Literature (pp. 7–22). New York: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  20. Claus, B., & Kelter, S. (2006). Comprehending Narratives Containing Flashbacks: Evidence for Temporally Organized Representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32(5), 1031–1044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Coltheart, M. (1981). The MRC Psycholinguistic Database. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 33A, 497–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Conklin, K., & Schmitt, N. (2012). The Processing of Formulaic Language. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 32, 45–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cremer, M., & Schoonen, R. (2013). The Role of Accessibility of Semantic Word Knowledge in Monolingual and Bilingual Fifth-Grade Reading. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34(6), 1195–1217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Croft, W., & Cruse, D. A. (2004). Cognitive Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Cruse, D. A. (2000). Meaning in Language: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Cureton, D. R. (1979). E. E. Cummings: A Study of the Poetic Use of Deviant Morphology. Poetics Today, 1(1–2), 213–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Davies, M., & Gardner, D. A. (2010). Frequency Dictionary of Contemporary American English: Word Sketches, Collocates, and Thematic Lists. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. de Beaugrande, R., & Dressler, W. U. (1981). Introduction to Text Linguistics. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  29. Derrida, J. (1992). Acts of Literature (D. Attridge, Ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Dillon, G. L. (1978). Language Processing and the Reading of Literature. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Dixon, P., Bortolussi, M., Twilley, L. C., & Leung, A. (1993). Literary Processing and Interpretation: Towards Empirical Foundations. Poetics, 22, 5–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Douthwaite, J. (2000). Towards a Linguistic Theory of Foregrounding. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.Google Scholar
  33. Du, P., Liu, D., Zhang, L., Hitchman, G., & Lin, C. (2014). The Processing of Contradictory and Noncontradictory Negative Sentences. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26(4), 461–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Emmott, C., Sanford, A. J., & Morrow, L. I. (2006). Capturing the Attention of Readers? Stylistic and Psychological Perspectives on the Use and Effect of Text Fragmentation in Narratives. Journal of Literary Semantics, 35, 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Eva-Wood, A. (2004). Thinking and Feeling Poetry: Exploring Meanings Aloud. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1), 182–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Fabb, N. (1995). The Density of Response: A Problem for Literary Criticism. In J. Payne (Ed.), Linguistic Approaches to Literature: Papers in Literary Stylistics (pp. 143–157). Birmingham: English Language Research.Google Scholar
  37. Fabb, N. (1999). Verse Constituency and the Locality of Alliteration. Lingua, 108(4), 223–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Faust, M., & Mashal, N. (2007). The Role of the Right Cerebral Hemisphere in Processing Novel Metaphorical Expressions Taken from Poetry: A Divided Field Visual Study. Neuropsychologia, 45, 860–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Fois-Kaschel, G. (2002). Analyse Linguistique de l’Hermetisme et des Libertés Poétiques dans Hölderlin, Trakl et Celan. Paris: Harmattan.Google Scholar
  40. Fowler, R. (1971). The Languages of Literature. Some Linguistic Contributions to Criticism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  41. Frazier, L. (1988). The Study of Linguistic Complexity. In A. Davison & G. M. Green (Eds.), Linguistic Complexity and Text Comprehension: Readability Issues Reconsidered (pp. 193–221). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Genette, G. (1980). Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Goatly, A. (1997). The Language of Metaphors. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Goodblatt, C., & Glickson, J. (1993). Metaphor and Gestalt: Interaction Theory Revisited. Poetics Today, 14(1), 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Goodblatt, C., & Glickson, J. (2010). Conversations with I. A. Richards: the Renaissance in Cognitive Literary Studies. Poetics Today, 31(3), 387–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Graesser, A. C., Hoffman, N. L., & Clark, L. F. (1980). Structural Components of Reading Times. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19(2), 135–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Green, K. (2015). Deixis in Literature. In V. Sotirova (Ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics (pp. 400–415). London and New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  48. Halliday, M. A. K., & Hasan, R. (1976). Cohesion in English. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  49. Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (1999). Construing Experience through Meaning. A Language-Based Approach to Cognition. London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  50. Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd ed.). London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  51. Hanauer, D. (1998). The Genre-Specific Hypothesis of Reading: Reading Poetry and Encyclopedic Items. Poetics, 26, 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Harley, T. A. (2008). The Psychology of Language (3rd ed.). London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  53. Hühn, P. (2005). Plotting the Lyric: Forms of Narration in Poetry. In E. M. Zettelmann & M. Rubik (Eds.), Theory into Poetry: New Approaches to the Lyric (pp. 147–172). Amsterdam: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  54. Hühn, P., Goerke, B., Plooy, H., & Schenk-Haupt, S. (2016). Facing Loss and Death: Narrative and Eventfulness in Lyric Poetry. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Jackson, H., & Ze Amvela, E. (2007). Words, Meaning and Vocabulary: An Introduction to Modern English Lexicology. London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  56. Jeffries, L. (1993). The Language of Twentieth Century Poetry. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Jeffries, L. (2008). The Role of Style in Reader-Involvement: Deictic Shifting in Contemporary Poems. Journal of Literary Semantics, 37(1), 69–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kintsch, W. (1998). Comprehension: A Paradigm for Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Kövecses, Z. (2010). Metaphor: A Practical Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Lamarque, P. (2009). The Elusiveness of Poetic Meaning. Ratio (New Series), 27(4), 398–420.Google Scholar
  61. Lakoff, G. (1993). The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and Thought (pp. 202–251). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Leech, G. (1969). A Linguistic Guide to English Poetry. Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
  63. Leech, G., & Short, M. (2007 [1981]). Style in Fiction. London and New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  64. Levin, S. R. (1977). The Semantics of Metaphor. Baltimore and London: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Levinson, S. (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Lopez, T. (2006). Meaning Performance: Essays on Poetry. Cambridge: Salt.Google Scholar
  67. Lyons, J. (1977). Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Martindale, C. (1991). The Clockwork Muse: The Predictability of Artistic Change. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  69. McHale, B. (2000). How (Not) to Read Postmodernist Long Poems: The Case of Ashbery’s “The Skaters”. Poetics Today, 21(3), 561–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. McHale, B. (2004). The Obligation Toward the Difficult Whole: Postmodernist Long Poems. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  71. McHale, B. (2009). Beginning to Think About Narrative in Poetry. Narrative, 17(1), 11–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Miall, S. D., & Kuiken, D. (1994). Foregrounding, Defamiliarization, and Affect: Response to Literary Stories. Poetics, 22, 389–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Moen, H. S. (2010). Chi È Questa?—‘Who is She?’ Transformation, Displacement, and Narrative Refraction as Structural Procedures in The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Textual Practice, 24(2), 287–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Nadel, I. B. (2007). The Cambridge Introduction to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Nahajec, L. (2009). Negation and the Creation of Extra Meaning in Poetry. Language and Literature, 18(2), 109–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Neel, E. (1999). The Talking Being Listening: Gertrude Stein’s “Patriarchal Poetry” and the Sound of Reading. Style, 33(1), 88–106.Google Scholar
  77. Paivio, A., Yuille, J. C., & Madigan, S. A. (1968). Concreteness, Imagery, and Meaningfulness Values for 925 Nouns. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 76(1–2), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Perloff, M. (1981). The Poetics of Indeterminacy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Perloff, M. (1991). Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  80. Peskin, J. (1998). Constructing Meaning When Reading Poetry: An Expert-Novice Study. Cognition and Instruction, 16(3), 235–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Pilkington, A. (2000). Poetic Effects. A Relevance Theory Perspective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Quartermain, P. (1992). Disjunctive Poetics: From Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky to Susan Howe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Reber, R., Schwarz, N., & Winkielman, P. (2004). Processing Fluency and Aesthetic Pleasure: Is Beauty in the Perceiver’s Processing Experience? Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(4), 364–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Riffaterre, M. (1973). Interpretation and Descriptive Poetry: A Reading of Wordsworth’s “Yew-Trees”. New Literary History, 4(2), 229–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Riffaterre, M. (1984 [1978]). Semiotics of Poetry. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  86. Rives, R. (2012). Modernist Impersonalities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Rodger, T. (1971). The Concept of Linguistic Difficulty. Working Papers in Linguistics, 3(4), 109–120.Google Scholar
  88. Romero, E., & Soria, B. (2013). Anomaly in Novel Metaphor and Experimental Tests. Journal of Literary Semantics, 42(1), 31–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. San, D. (2005). Hiatus of Subject and Verb in Poetic Language. Style, 39(2), 137–152.Google Scholar
  90. Sanford, A. J., & Emmott, C. (2012). Mind, Brain and Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Schmauder, A. R., Morris, R. K., & Poynor, D. V. (2000). Lexical Processing and Text Integration of Function and Content Words: Evidence from Priming and Eye-Fixations. Memory and Cognition, 28(7), 1098–1108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Schmidt, S. J., & Groeben, N. (1989). How to Do Thoughts with Words: On Understanding Literature. In D. Meutsch & R. Viehoff (Eds.), Comprehension of Litrary Discourse (pp. 16–46). Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  93. Schmitt, N., & Schmitt, D. (2014). A Reassessment of Frequency and Vocabulary Size in L2 Vocabulary Teaching. Language Teaching, 47(4), 484–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Semino, E. (1995). Schema Theory and the Analysis of Text Worlds in Poetry. Language and Literature, 4(2), 79–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Semino, E. (2002). Stylistics and Linguistic Variation in Poetry. Journal of English Linguistics, 30(1), 28–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Shen, Y. (2007). Foregrounding in Poetic Discourse: Between Deviance and Cognitive Constraints. Language and Literature, 16(2), 169–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Shen, Y., & Giora, R. (1994). Degrees of Narrativity and Strategies of Semantic Reduction. Poetics, 22, 447–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Short, M. (1996). Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays, and Prose. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  99. Simpson, P. (2014 [1993]). Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Sotirova, V. (2005). Repetition in Free Indirect Style: A Dialogue of Minds? Style, 39(2), 123–136.Google Scholar
  101. Spiro, J. (2011). Reader Response and the Formulation of Literary Judgment. In J. Swann, R. Pope, & R. Carter (Eds.), Creativity in Language and Literature—The State of the Art (pp. 231–243). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Steiner, G. (1978). On Difficulty. In G. Steiner (Ed.), On Difficulty and Other Essays (pp. 18–47). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  103. Stockwell, P. (1992). The Metaphorics of Literary Reading. Liverpool Papers in Language and Discourse, 2, 18–39.Google Scholar
  104. Stockwell, P. (2002a). Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  105. Stockwell, P. (2002b). Miltonic Texture and the Feeling of Reading. In E. Semino & J. Culpeper (Eds.), Cognitive Stylistics. Language and Cognition in Text Analysis (73–94). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Stockwell, P. (2009). Texture—A Cognitive Aesthetics of Reading. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  107. Stubbs, M. (2001). Word and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  108. Tartakovsky, R. (2009). E. E. Cummings’s Parentheses: Punctuation as Poetic Device. Style, 43(2), 215–247.Google Scholar
  109. Tate, A. (2008 [1994]). Bakhtin, Addressivity, and the Poetics of Objectivity. In R. Carter & P. Stockwell (Eds.), The Language and Literature Reader (pp. 137–146). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  110. Testa, E. (1999). Per Interposta Persona. Lingua e Poesia nel Secondo Novecento. Rome: Bulzoni.Google Scholar
  111. Toolan, M. (1993). Approaching Hill’s “Of Commerce and Society” Through Lexis. In P. Verdonk (Ed.), Stylistic Criticism of Twentieth-Century Poetry: From Text to Context (pp. 32–45). Florence, KY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  112. Toolan, M. (2001 [1988]). Narrative: A Critical Linguistic Introduction. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  113. Toolan, M. (2014). The Theory and Philosophy of Stylistics. In P. Stockwell & S. Whiteley (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 13–31). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  114. Toolan, M. (2016). Making Sense of Narrative Texts: Situation, Repetition, and Picturing in the Reading of Short Stories. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. van Dijk, T., & Kintsch, W. (1983). Strategies of Discourse Comprehension. New York and London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  116. van Peer, W. (1993). Typographic Foregrounding. Language and Literature, 2(1), 49–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Wales, K. (2011 [1990]). A Dictionary of Stylistics (3rd ed.). Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
  118. Walker, K. (1995). How Coherent is Cohesion? In J. Payne (Ed.), Linguistic Approaches to Literature: Papers in Literary Stylistics (pp. 102–116). Birmingham: English Language Research.Google Scholar
  119. Wilkinson, J. (2007). The Lyric Touch: Essays on the Poetry of Excess. Cambridge: Salt.Google Scholar
  120. Yaron, I. (2002). Processing of Obscure Poetic Texts: Mechanisms of Selection. Journal of Literary Semantics, 31(2), 133–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  121. Zwaan, R. A. (1993). Aspects of Literary Comprehension. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. Zwaan, R. A. (1996). Processing Narrative Time Shifts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 22(5), 1196–1207.Google Scholar
  123. Zwaan, R. A. (2004). The Immersed Experiencer: Toward an Embodied Theory of Language Comprehension. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 44, 35–62.Google Scholar
  124. Zyngier, S., van Peer, W., & Hakemulder, F. (2007). Complexity and Foregrounding: In the Eye of the Beholder? Poetics Today, 28(4), 653–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davide Castiglione
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English PhilologyVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

Personalised recommendations