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Title: Verbal irony in literary discourse : a pragmatic-stylistic study with particular emphasis on contemporary narrative fiction
Author: S'hiri, Sonia
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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This thesis attempts to shed new light on the functioning of verbal irony in literary discourse and contemporary narrative fiction in particular, adopting a pragmatic stylistic approach to the topic. It argues in favour of Sperber and Wilson's pragmatic account of verbal irony which it deems extendable and generalisable, despite its two main shortcomings concerned with the basically one-to-one situation analysis it offers and its disregard for components (of a psycho-sociolinguistic nature) which are essential for explaining and securing the existence of irony. The defence of this argument follows two steps. The first (Chs. I, II, III, IV) is concerned with the exploration of the potential that discourse as a whole and literary discourse in particular offer for warranting such a view of irony. Tremendous support has been unravelled from the notions of intertextuality, recontextualisation and re-attribution which readily accommodate the proposed view of irony and help to elucidate it. The second step explores irony in contemporary narrative fiction taking into consideration aspects of its discourse, and the way it can be reconciled with Sperber and Wilson's account. Chapter V singles out some paratextual elements (the title, the epigraph and the note) as instantiating intertextuality par excellence and therefore offering a fertile ground for the communication of irony, at the periphery of the body of the fictional text. Chapters VI and VII scrutinise the organisation of the narrative both as report of events and as report of speech in order to single out the potential each narrative technique offers for the generation and comprehension of irony. It is argued that the duplicity between 'story' and 'discourse' is at the heart of a great deal of the possibilities open for irony in narrative fiction given what it offers for the manipulation of the organisation of the events in terms of time, focalisation and narration as well as speech and thought presentation. This investigation is further accompanied by an exploration of the pragmatic or rhetorical purposes behind the use of irony through the manipulation of these techniques. Characterisation, thematic reinforcement and self-conscious criticism are found to be the elements of narrative that seem to benefit most from ironic communication.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available