Pragmatic Stylistics

I am interested in the potential of the various current branches of  pragmatic theory as frameworks for the stylistic analysis of literary texts, and I am exploring this potential in discursive and collaborative work, as well as in my individual research.

Billy Clark from Middlesex University and I organised a panel at the International Pragmatics Association conference in Manchester in July 2011 on ‘The interface between pragmatics and literary stylistics’, and a special interest group at the International Poetics and Linguistics Association conference in Malta in July 2012 on ‘Pragmatic Stylistics’. We are currently editing a collection of essays to be published as Pragmatics and Literary Stylistics by Palgrave Macmillan.

In my own research, I am exploring the possibilities of using neo-Gricean pragmatics, particularly the two-principled pragmatic theory developed by Laurence Horn, as an approach to the analysis of literary texts. My article ‘Towards a neo-Gricean pragmatics: imlicature in Dorothy L. Sayers’s Gaudy Night‘ will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Literary Semantics. I am currently working on a pragmatic reading of Elizabeth Bowen’s 1929 novel The Last September.

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