Miller (2010a, b, c) takes up the defense of the inadequately valued social semiotic, or Hasanian (but also Hallidayan), approach to ‘verbal art’, or ‘the literature text’ (Hasan 1985/1989; 2007). By the way, as it were, this work also suggests that what Jakobson (1960, 1966, 1968) identifies as the empirical evidence of his ‘poetic function’, i.e., grammatical parallelism, should be incorporated into the model. The analytical value of focusing on such marked reiteration of linguistic patterns has emerged from the teaching of numerous courses in stylistics over the years and has been theorized and effectively demonstrated (e.g., Miller 2007). This paper aims to argue the case more deliberately, visibly, and convincingly. I begin in section 2 with Hasan’s long ongoing agon against the view of literature as but one more text type, about which there is nothing particularly ‘special’. In order to do this, I widen the temporal lens on the development of the theory of social semiotic stylistics in the systemic functional linguistics (SFL) tradition, tracing in brief the synergetic Halliday-Hasan input of ideas driving Hasan’s modelling of the framework. The issue of verbal art’s uniqueness is treated here as it is an essential one, not least because one of the first critics to explicitly claim it was not was Fowler (1986), precisely in noting, but disparaging, the theoretical intersection of foregrounding (Mukařovský 1964; 1977; 1978) and parallelism – what he dubbed ‘the Mukařovský-Jakobson theory’. This is the very cornerstone of the proposition being put forth here. A cursory account of the model itself follows in section 3. Only after this groundwork do I address ‘the Mukařovský-Jakobson theory’, delineating Jakobson’s contribution to the thesis and arguing for correspondences between his ‘poetic function’ and Hasan’s approach, as well as against her reservations. Section 5 then briefly illustrates how ‘pervasive parallelism’ (Jakobson 1966: 423) functions, just as Hasan maintains that patterning in verbal art must: as a ‘consistent’ and ‘motivated’ foregrounding device which symbolically articulates the ‘theme’ of a literature text. In closing, my (modest) proposal for coupling these notions is succinctly summed up. A final point before proceeding: the social semiotic perspective is not at all ‘new’. As Hasan points out, ‘[…] it actually predates the 1960s’ structural stylistics’ (2007: 21). She sees the initial approach to the perspective as having been made by the Russian Neo-Formalists and Prague Circle scholars, especially Mukařovský. She judges ‘Garvin’s little book’ (1964) as having been the first to offer the uninitiated an illuminating glimpse of Prague School aesthetics; and she was certainly at least one of the first researchers to use its insights in a full length study: her unpublished PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh (1971).

Another look at Social Semiotic Stylistics: Coupling Hasan’s ‘Verbal Art’ framework with ‘the Mukařovský-Jakobson theory

MILLER, DONNA ROSE
2013

Abstract

Miller (2010a, b, c) takes up the defense of the inadequately valued social semiotic, or Hasanian (but also Hallidayan), approach to ‘verbal art’, or ‘the literature text’ (Hasan 1985/1989; 2007). By the way, as it were, this work also suggests that what Jakobson (1960, 1966, 1968) identifies as the empirical evidence of his ‘poetic function’, i.e., grammatical parallelism, should be incorporated into the model. The analytical value of focusing on such marked reiteration of linguistic patterns has emerged from the teaching of numerous courses in stylistics over the years and has been theorized and effectively demonstrated (e.g., Miller 2007). This paper aims to argue the case more deliberately, visibly, and convincingly. I begin in section 2 with Hasan’s long ongoing agon against the view of literature as but one more text type, about which there is nothing particularly ‘special’. In order to do this, I widen the temporal lens on the development of the theory of social semiotic stylistics in the systemic functional linguistics (SFL) tradition, tracing in brief the synergetic Halliday-Hasan input of ideas driving Hasan’s modelling of the framework. The issue of verbal art’s uniqueness is treated here as it is an essential one, not least because one of the first critics to explicitly claim it was not was Fowler (1986), precisely in noting, but disparaging, the theoretical intersection of foregrounding (Mukařovský 1964; 1977; 1978) and parallelism – what he dubbed ‘the Mukařovský-Jakobson theory’. This is the very cornerstone of the proposition being put forth here. A cursory account of the model itself follows in section 3. Only after this groundwork do I address ‘the Mukařovský-Jakobson theory’, delineating Jakobson’s contribution to the thesis and arguing for correspondences between his ‘poetic function’ and Hasan’s approach, as well as against her reservations. Section 5 then briefly illustrates how ‘pervasive parallelism’ (Jakobson 1966: 423) functions, just as Hasan maintains that patterning in verbal art must: as a ‘consistent’ and ‘motivated’ foregrounding device which symbolically articulates the ‘theme’ of a literature text. In closing, my (modest) proposal for coupling these notions is succinctly summed up. A final point before proceeding: the social semiotic perspective is not at all ‘new’. As Hasan points out, ‘[…] it actually predates the 1960s’ structural stylistics’ (2007: 21). She sees the initial approach to the perspective as having been made by the Russian Neo-Formalists and Prague Circle scholars, especially Mukařovský. She judges ‘Garvin’s little book’ (1964) as having been the first to offer the uninitiated an illuminating glimpse of Prague School aesthetics; and she was certainly at least one of the first researchers to use its insights in a full length study: her unpublished PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh (1971).
Languages, Metalanguages, Modalities, Cultures: Functional and socio-discoursive perspectives
121
140
Miller, D R
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/254881
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact