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Abstract

Simple-sentence discourse and formulaic repetitions are not merely products of the compositional whims of contemporary, non-fictional prose nor of contemporary, commercial, genre fiction. A sentence, taken out of a larger context, tends to be rather passive, but, in collaboration with other, similarly constructed sentences, it constitutes part of a larger politext. In other words, the way a text is constructed lends itself to a particular way of viewing the world. Scottian discourse (as well as Balzacian fictional discourse), for example, often uses descriptive terms which merely depict the surfaces of things without an extensive use of imaginative phrasing. It appears that this kind of discourse precludes anything approaching the Symbolist notion of synaesthesia, of writing that dramatizes the senses in ‘unordinary’ ways, and that, to large measure, remains today. In other words, sparseness of imagistic language, lack of original metaphor (or unoriginal one for that matter), absence of dynamic figures of speech, and an adherence to formulaic structures, seem to be the writing of preference, the style of preference, the context of preference, in much of contemporary fiction simply because it, the appearance, is familiar and, as Lyotard has written, the audience derives a certain amount of comfort from that.

Keywords

Literary Text Flush Toilet Literary Discourse Textual Invention Realistic Fiction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Karl Wallace, Francis Bacon on Communication and Rhetoric (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina), p. 147.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pico Iyer, ‘Fighting the Cocaine Wars’, Time Magazine, Vol. 125, 25 February 1985, p. 26.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    John Hellman, Fables of Fact: The New Journalism’s New Fiction (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1981), p. 3.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Tom Wolfe, The New Journalism (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), p. 21.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Walter Scott, Waverley (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin, 1983), p. 76.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    See David Hewitt (ed.), Scott on Himself (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press), pp. 118–36.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Terry Eagleton, Marxism and Literary Criticism (London: Methuen, 1976), p. 71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 11.
    Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans, by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), p. 75.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Josef Vacheck, Linguistic School of Prague (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1966), p. 88.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (New York: Hill & Wang, 1978), p. 50.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Jacques Ellul, Propaganda (New York: Random House, 1973), p. 6.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Roger Fowler, Linguistics and the Novel (London: Methuen, 1977), p. 3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© M. R. Axelrod 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA

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