Introduction ……………………………………………………………...... 3
What is “Literariness?”…………………………………………………….. 4
The nature and the locus of literariness ……………………………………. 7
Three components of literary reading ……………………………………. 15
Conclusion ………………………………………………………………... 17
Works consulted ………………………………………………………….. 18
1. Attridge, Derek. Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics in Retrospect // The Linguistics of Writing: Arguments between Language and Literature. New York: Methuen Inc., 1987
2. Colomb, Gregory. The Semiotic Study of Literary Works // Tracing Literary Theory. Chicago: U of Illinois P, 1987
3. Erlich, Victor. Russian Formalism: History-Doctrine, 3rd Edition. New Haven & London: Yale UP, 1965
4. Garvin, Paul L. A Prague School Reader on Esthetics, Literary Structure, and Style. Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 1964
5. Jacobson, Roman. Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics // Style in Language. Cambridge, MS: MIT Press, 1960
6. Miall, D. S., Kuiken, D. Foregrounding, defamiliarization, and affect: Response to literary stories. Poetics, 1994
7. Miall, D. S.,
Показать все Kuiken, D. Beyond text theory: Understanding literary response. Discourse Processes, 1994
8. Miall, D. S., Kuiken, D. The form of reading: Empirical studies of literariness. Poetics, 1998
9. Miall, D. S., Kuiken, D. Shifting perspectives: Readers' feelings and literary response // New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective. New York: SUNY Press, 2001
10. Mukarovsky, Jan. Standard Language and Poetic Language // Linguistics and Literary Style. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., 1970
11. Riffaterre, Michael. Criteria for Style Analysis // Essays on the Language of Literature. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1967
12. Scholes, Robert. Semiotics and Interpretation. New Haven: Yale UP, 1932 Скрыть
So, defamiliarization was one of the most devices which Russian formalists dealt with. It should be noted that this dealing was very seminal because it helped the formalists do away with the traditional division of literature into form and content. The form and content were considered as inseparable, they constitute in one unity. They have replaced form and content to device and material respectively. Material serves for the unorganized stuff of literature – ideas, themes, emotions, events and also language and devise transforms material in to an artistically shaped literary work of art.
Now, pass on the next part of this short abstract to get a much clearer understanding of what and where literariness is.
The nature and the locus of literariness
When we are talking about the nature and
Показать все locus of literariness we mean first of all as fellows – what exactly is this unique ingredient in any literary work and where to find it?
As you know, many linguists and literary theorists, including the leading Russian formalist Roman Jacobson and other fellows of his linguistic circle were highly interested in the problem of the nature and locus of literariness. But although they were highly motivated to clarify this phenomenon we can not give the decisive answer to the question what and where in a literary work literariness is.
The formalists, however, promoted their own definite idea of literariness. They claimed the conception of “defamiliarization” as the most sufficient feature of any literary composition and reduced art to mere device. They thus tried to consider literature as a special use of language that can achieve its distinctness by deviating from practical language. This approach was typical especially for such earlier theorists as Victor Shklovsky and Boris Tomashevsky.
But their probing in to the nature of literariness had to lead them to rigorous problems because they needed to determine in this case the differences between the literary or poetic language and non-literary or ordinary (practical, everyday, communicative, standard, prosaic, scientific) language. We can say now that their attempt has not succeeded.
As an example of a sensible attempt of this kind can be a study of the linguist, Jan Mukarovsky, regarded who tried to clarify the typological difference between the poetic and standard language. His study was called “Standard language and poetic language”. He had in his work the idea of foregrounding which is related to “defamiliarization”. The function of poetic language he saw in maximum foregrounding of utterance. The poetic language thus consists of foregrounding which has to achieve its maximum intensity to push the communication into the background to be used for its own sake. So, poetic language does not need to be used in the services of communication, but in order to place in the foreground the act of expression and the act of speech itself.
It should be noted that there is a common mistake that all of the Formalists have because they believed in existing such a language which not used in services of communication but used for its own sake. What does it mean – to be used for its own sake? To say that a language is used for its own sake is, in effect, to deny the basic fact that any use of language is to communicate and to convey the user’s ideas to the intended object. It can sound, of course, magnificent but to be serious it is the bogus truth.
Suppose that Mukarovsky had the idea that the reception of message in poetry or literature is assured by stylistic devices and its function is to compel attention. But indeed the foregrounding of utterance is a way of creating of verbal pleasure. And literature as an art is to arouse the excitement of emotions for the purpose of immediate pleasure. Nobody can rather verify that there is any speech spoken by a real person or by an imaginary character that provides pleasure alone without delivering any message. We can conclude thus that in many literary works or texts, in fact, to place the act of expression in the foreground is to express content more effectively.
We can find a lot of acknowledged poetic lines which sound as familiar and unforegrounded as ordinary utterances. Lyrical Ballads, for instance, are rich in lines which can demonstrate the fact that a large portion of the language of every good poem can not differ from one of a good prose. That is why, defamiliarization or foregrounding indeed seem to be not a necessary device of poetry, nor is it an idea for distinguishing literary language from non-literary language.
It would be rather easier to become a writer if to foreground a linguistic component by defamiliarization is a sufficient devise by creating literature or poetry because it would be rather easier to invent a radically new text by making strange the verbal structure contained in it without having to care about its esthetic effect. In this case one can make it easier to compose surrealistic poem than a traditional sonnet.
When we are speaking of the source of the pleasure that the readers experience in reading a literary work, we are speaking about as much the familiarity as much the unfamiliarity of the work’s linguistic components to the reader. People who love reading a romance, for example, can find pleasure in any conventional devices pertaining to the genre. The opera fans will enjoy seeing each detail of the opera performed on the stage according to expected modes; however, the component of originality (defamiliarization) in a work or performance can be pleasing too.
Then it follows that the idea of defamiliarization or foregrounding of certain linguistic components should not be equal to the concept of literariness. A literary work, normal or abnormal, has to be more than its linguistic style. To view this properly in the light of language we have to understand that a literary work is also a speech act or speech event like a conversation or a natural narrative; it therefore involves a message-sender, a message-receiver, the medium which is the message sent and received through and the world which the sender, the receiver, the message and the medium exist in.
In other words, to definite and to seek “literariness in a work means to explore all the factors of that work or text – its author, reader, universe as well as its language.
Now, go over the conception of the other formalist, Robert Scholes, who on the one hand accepted the idea of literariness of Jacobson and on the other hand had his own understanding of this concept which can be very useful for us to identify this phenomenon.
Scholes agreed that a literary work is one where literariness is dominant and that literariness is found in all sorts of utterances. But he did not locate literariness in the formal structure of a work’s message, unlike other formalists did. According to Scholes, all the six factors of a communicative act (sender, receiver, contact, message, code and context) are to be considered in any search for literariness. He pointed out that we can find literariness in an utterance when any one of the six features of communication will loose its simplicity and become multiple. For him literariness can be found where a communicative act encourages us to set a difference between maker and speaker, where the words of utterance seem to be directed not to us but to someone else, where words are presented to us not in speaking but in an other form of contact, where the form of the message becomes more complicated than usual, where the doubling of context is seen and where the code of the message points to other communicative acts.
To tidy things up, we can make the following list as a finder of literariness:
Duplicity of sender;
Duplicity of receiver;
Duplicity of message;
Duplicity of context;
Duplicity of contact;
Duplicity of code.
So, regarding to Scholes, literariness may occur anywhere in the entire process of verbal communication from the encoding to the decoding of message. But this idea of duplicity still leaves a question. We can assume, of course, that this duplicity is an opposite term to simplicity and can be a form of so-called defamiliarization.
Duplicity as a term can have also a quantitative idea. We can not deny that literature has numerical matters in itself. But we can deny that anything literary must be more than simple because a literary message can be very simple and normal in regard to its receiver, sender or context. If literariness is an artful quality, it need not always include duplicity and an artful element can be either simple or complicated depending on the context in which it occurs.
Now we try to put this point said above clearly. To defamiliarize or to foreground a linguistic component as well to bring about duplicity is a mere device of creating literariness but not a quality of literariness itself. If we want to definite literariness as a quality of literature, not only the means but also the end of producing that quality have to be considered. The end of literariness is equivalent to the end of literature which is to delight and to instruct through the proper use of language. To defamiliarize, to foreground and to make duplicity are three means to the same literary end.
I think if we want to find a concept which can best cover all literary devices that serve as to make up the quality of literariness; it should be the idea of verbal artfulness. But if we are speaking about literature, it is indeed a verbal art. Literariness therefore lies in an artful use of language. By the way, the term artful is not the same that the term special.
When formalists and literary theorists held literariness as a special use of language they were right in pointing out to the verbal nature of literariness, but the term special limited their views to such concepts as defamiliarization and foregrounding. Anyone, however, can choose to call any special device or technique or skill “special”, and then it aims to achieve his intended artistic purpose. But the word artful can point out more directly to the true nature of literariness than special.
Art seems to be a matter of proper choice and good arrangement. “Proper words in proper places” make the true definition of a style. Some authors define prose as “words in their best order”, and poetry as “the best words in the best order”. According to this view, literature is the artful selection and combination of all linguistic components (phonological, semantic, pragmatic etc.) for an esthetic end.
The very interesting idea is the idea of the concept of style as deviance in contrast with a concept of style as choice. It seems to be that style as choice subsumes the style as deviance, for deviance is only one aspect of the language of literature. The points that are making here are quite right and these statements are still true if we substitute the word “literariness’’ for the word “style”. And if we let the word “choice” to cover the idea of arrangement or combination – that means choosing to arrange or combine this or that way, literariness can really be just a matter of choice.
It is worthwhile to say, that literariness can be also interpreted as a matter of choice according to Russian formalism. But their idea was of course restricted by a concern because they focused their attention exclusively on the form ignoring, meanwhile, the origin and the destination of the work (the author and the reader). Скрыть
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