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Title: Beyond amusement : language and emotion in narrative comedy
Author: Marszalek, Agnes
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 2993
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis builds on cognitive stylistics, humour studies and psychological approaches to literature, film and television to explore how the stylistic features of comic novels and short stories may shape readers’ experience of comedy. I suggest that our responses to written humorous narratives are triggered by two types of stylistic cue: those which lead to amusement and stabilise our experience of comedy, and those which destabilise it by evoking non-humorous emotions associated with experiencing narrative worlds generally. When presented simultaneously, those cues can trigger complex humorous responses in which amusement is experienced alongside other, often negative, emotions. In order to investigate how textual elements can influence our emotional experience of humorous narratives, this thesis examines the ways in which stylistic cues affect some of the main experiential features of the narrative worlds of comedy: the moods evoked by the world, our relationships with characters, and our reactions to plot events. Following on from the Introduction and the Literature Review (Chapters 1 and 2), Chapter 3 explores the ways in which stylistic cues may evoke various moods by establishing, reinforcing and disrupting our expectations. Chapter 4 focuses on the role of characterisation in humorous narratives, concentrating on those cues which encourage us to laugh at narrative characters, and those which evoke other, non-humorous responses to them. In Chapter 5, I consider how the presentation of story events affects our experience of humorous plots. I discuss the cues which add humour to the presentation of otherwise problematic events, as well as those which combine humour with more uncomfortable emotions that stem from our reactions to story structures. Chapter 6, finally, provides a summary of the argument and of the contribution to knowledge made by this thesis. My exploration of the non-humorous side of experiencing narrative comedy offers a key contribution to the study of humorous narratives. By investigating humour as part of a wider narrative world, this thesis moves beyond the analysis of amusing language and towards addressing the complexity of the creation and experience of humour in a narrative world. The interdisciplinary, stylistic-psychological approach adopted here allows for hypotheses to be made not only about the emotional experience of humour in comic novels and short stories, but also about the affective side of narrative comprehension more generally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Philology. Linguistics ; PE English ; PN Literature (General)