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Title: Rebuilding words, constructing worlds : a stylistic analysis of lexical and syntactic creativity and their role in fictional-world creation in Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker
Author: Boyne , Martin R.
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Russell Hoban's 1980 novel Riddley Walker is most obviously characterised by distinctive orthography, yet it also contains a high degree of lexical and syntactic creativity. This study explores the nature and extent of that creativity, illustrating that, while much of the novel is written in standard English, in the area of the lexicon there is a range of neologisms, including derivations, original coinages, and reanalysed forms; in the area of syntax, the novel contains a number of standard and nonstandard sentence types, with several participial and verbless sentences and many instances of parataxis. The principal contention of this thesis is that the combined effects of lexical and syntactic creativity help to project a fictional world that relies heavily on eroded and subsequently restructured forms of standard English, as well as being influenced by spoken language to a greater extent than by written. A range of theoretical and methodological approaches in stylistics is employed to analyse and explain the language of the novel. In addition to traditional methods of analysing fiction, the study uses corpus methods to generate hypotheses and substantiate findings, supported throughout by collocational analysis. The theoretical core of the study is located in cognitive stylistics: deictic shift theory, schema theory, conceptual blending, contextual frame theory, and fictional-world theory more broadly are all assessed in order to determine how appropriate they are for an analysis of the role of the novel's language in projecting the fictional world. The study proposes a model of dual-world lexical reference to explain how reanalysed lexical forms place readers between the actual world and the world of the text when interpreting such forms. While syntax cannot be analysed using the same framework, the findings in the lexicon are extended to syntax to show that the two types of creativity are mutually reinforcing. Ultimately, readers construct the fictional world through negotiating meaning on both the lexical and the syntactic levels by means of the linguistic distinctiveness of the novel.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available