Avhandlingar

  • Geijersalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2019-02-16 kl 10:00

    Driscoll, Leonard

    The Archaeological Encounter in British Fiction, 1880–1940

    Abstract

    Ancient artefacts appeared frequently in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British fiction. Prehistoric stone circles, enigmatic potsherds, Egyptian mummies, and other such antiquities featured in everything from fin de siècle adventure narratives to the major works of High Modernism. Why did such a diverse range of authors turn to archaeology in this period? What exactly did archaeological objects signify in their novels? And which new literary forms emerged from this intersection of fiction and archaeology? This dissertation examines this archaeological encounter in British fiction and finds that a central reason for its flourishing in these decades is that authors drew inspiration from the profound changes that were at that time transforming archaeology. Between 1880 and 1940, archaeology developed from a loosely defined set of ideas and practices into a well-funded, professional, and popular discipline with specialized methods, theories, and institutions. Through in-depth research into archaeology as it was practiced and promoted, this study aims to reveal the specific associations archaeology held for contemporary authors and thereby restore to literary history the debates, ideas, and contexts of a discipline in formation.

    This study examines the representation of archaeological artefacts in the fiction of a diverse body of writers, including Agatha Christie, Mary Butts, and Arthur Conan Doyle, while offering detailed analyses of the presence of archaeology in the works of Thomas Hardy, H. Rider Haggard, and Virginia Woolf. Drawing on key concepts from Thing Theory, it argues that through their depiction of archaeological things these authors transformed archaeological practices into literary forms: they staged contemporary archaeological methods and theories by turning them into narrative, descriptive, and paratextual strategies for the representation of the material world, including modern objects. Overall, this study outlines a new approach to the fiction of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries by providing a detailed account of the cultural encounter between archaeology and fiction at a time when both were in the process of radical transformation. In sum, it shows that archaeology, literally a science of old things, gave rise to important new modes of literary material representation in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century fiction.

    Open access
  • Geijersalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala 2018-04-20 kl 10:15

    Schwarz, Sarah

    Passive voices: be-, get- and prepositional passives in recent American English

    Abstract

    The aim of the thesis is to shed light on the use and development of passive voice in American English. Empirical, corpus methods are employed in order to examine the syntactic, semantic, and stylistic preferences of three English passive constructions across time and genre in American English. The corpus data span the years 1870–2010 and come from genres of widely varying formality. The three passive constructions investigated in this thesis are:

    1. The canonical be-passive, as in she was sent home.
    2. The informal, relatively infrequent get-passive, as in she got sent home.
    3. The typologically rare prepositional passive, as in she was sent for.

    In Article 1, the frequency of be- and get-passives in very recent, speech-like material suggests both colloquialization and prescriptivism as influences on the language. The results indicate little difference between the two passives except in terms of frequency, highlighting the importance of comparing get-passives to a control group of be-passives.  In Article 2, data from the TIME Magazine Corpus indicate that get-passives may have been continuing to grammaticalize over the 20th century in terms of situation-type preferences. Article 3, which encompasses a longer diachronic span across more genres, lends further support to the continuing grammaticalization of get-passives, and offers two additional indicators:  decreased use with human subjects, and increasing acceptability with a range of past participles. Finally, the study of prepositional passives presented in Article 4 constitutes an empirical investigation of earlier theories against a control group of non-prepositional passives. The findings suggest diachronically stable differences along a range of features, including the thematic roles conferred on the passive subject-referent, supporting earlier claims about affectedness and perceptual salience of subject in prepositional passives.

    The overall findings of the thesis highlight differences and similarities in three kinds of passive, and nuance our understanding of what passive voice is by using empirical methods to refine intuitive theories. The results regarding the use and development of the passives across time period and genre offer insight into the intertwined nature of mechanisms relating to language change, such as prescriptivism, colloquialization, and grammaticalization.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala 2017-09-15 kl 10:15

    Rönnerdal, Göran

    Temporal Subordinators and Clauses in Early Modern English: Stability and Change

    Abstract

    My work is a corpus-based investigation of the use and development of temporal subordinators and clauses in Early Modern British English (EModE).  The focus of the project is on the forms, structure, meanings, and history of these subordinators and clauses. My primary aim is to analyse stability and change in temporal subordinators and clauses across the EModE period; second comes the study of linguistic features, such as aspect, tense, mood and modality, ellipsis and non-finite forms, positions, coordination, and subordination of the temporal clauses. In addition, I examine the progress of these subordinators, and WHEN in particular, across text categories, text types, and the sub-periods.

    Regarding temporal subordinators, I account for the use of simple, complex, and correlative forms. I also address alternative expressions of temporal subordinators such as the repetition and replacement of temporal subordinators. The influence of negation on the choice of subordinators, and the modification patterns of subordinators are also treated.

    Primary meanings of anteriority, simultaneity, and posteriority as well as secondary meanings of temporal subordinators are studied. I uncover the evolution of temporal subordinators and trace their various forms, as far back as possible to the Old English and Middle English periods. I also make some comparisons with Present-day English.

    The investigation is based on the EModE section of the computerized Helsinki Corpus of English Texts and the manual literary Major Authors Corpus which I designed for the purposes of the study. Consequently, my study is carried out within corpus linguistics methodology. All in all, the primary material yielded 3,269 instances of 17 different prototypical temporal subordinators, called sub-types.

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  • Geijerssalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2017-05-06 kl 10:15

    Rau, Kristen

    From Frontline to Homefront: The Global Homeland in Contemporary U.S. War Fiction

    Abstract

    Criticized for providing a simplified depiction of a post-9/11 United States, contemporary American “War on Terror” fiction has been largely neglected by critical discourse. In this dissertation, I argue that this fiction offers a vital engagement with how the War on Terror is waged, and how the fantasies and policies of the Global Homeland inform it. Most immediately, the texts I analyze undercut the sanitization of the war by including depictions of intense combat and the psychological fallout of derealized warfare. In these works, the public’s reluctance to acknowledge such concerns lays the foundation for a schism between American civilians and the military. I argue moreover that this fiction engages with the collapse of distinctions between foreign and domestic spheres through exploring both battlefields abroad and how a military logic is transposed onto American society.

    In the first chapter, I analyze the way in which narratives by Kevin Powers, David Abrams, Phil Klay, and Dan Fesperman complicate sanitized images of the war by foregrounding its visceral qualities and representing the traumatic impact of mediated warfare. The second chapter focuses on Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, specifically its representation of the military characters’ frustration with the public’s failure to acknowledge the traumatic impact of the War on Terror, and its critique of melodramatic patriotic gestures that glorify the war but do not require actual social, financial, or affective investment in the military. The third chapter zeroes in on portrayals of returned veterans in texts by George Saunders, Atticus Lish, and Joyce Carol Oates, who react with increasing antagonism to civilian disinterest in their plight, which gives rise to acts of violence against civilians and a shift in societal attitudes toward the military. I conclude by examining Lish’s depiction of how the policies of the Global Homeland result in the deployment of a military logic within the domestic U.S. Through its engagement with American warfare and the Global Homeland, contemporary American war fiction offers a nuanced exploration of the conduct and ramifications of the War on Terror.

    Open access
  • Geijersalen: Eng/6-1023, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2018-01-27 kl 10:00

    Palmer, Ryan

    Enchanting Irruptions: Wonder, Noir, and the Environmental Imaginary

    Abstract

    This thesis investigates narratives of re-enchantment and disenchantment in three contemporary U.S. novels, Lydia Millet’s Mermaids in Paradise, Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, and Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. Drawing on key concepts from ecocritcism and affect theory, I argue that these novels interrogate narratives and affects associated with questions central to the Anthropocene: climate-related dilemmas, questions of environmental justice, and animal ethics. Situating these texts in relation to environmental discourses, I show how affects of wonder and re-enchantment are produced within them through the insertion of anti-mimetic narrative objects into otherwise representationally realistic fictional worlds. These incursions, and the affective shifts they produce, challenge and interrupt in the novels narratives of ecological dread and disenchantment, which I link to the techniques and affects of noir. In each chapter of this study, I show how the dialogical interplay between disenchantment and re-enchantment disrupts preconceptions and assumptions about aspects of ecological crisis, and engenders or reinforces political commitments to environmentally related issues. Chapter One focuses on interspecies politics and animal rights in Mermaids in Paradise, environmental justice is central to the analysis of Tropic of Orange in Chapter Two, and the political dynamics of countercultural environmentalism inform my reading of Inherent Vice in Chapter Three. Throughout, I explore the potential of re-enchantment to suggest an alternative to disenchanted and apocalyptic narratives concerning the environment, and to articulate a productive politics for contemporary ecofiction. 

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala 2017-03-17 kl 10:15

    Kaatari, Henrik

    Adjectives complemented by that- and to-clauses: Exploring semantico-syntactic relationships and genre variation

    Abstract

    The present compilation thesis investigates adjectives complemented by that- and to-clauses. More specifically, the thesis is concerned with extraposed (e.g. it is likely that she will win and it is important to win) and post-predicate clauses (e.g. I’m sure that he’s alive and I’m glad to see you). The thesis is most fundamentally concerned with the study of linguistic variation. Thus the aim of the thesis is to explain why a certain construction is used in a given context.

    The data used in the studies comes from the British National Corpus (BNC). Study I proposes a semi-automated approach to variable patterns in corpus data. The study describes the creation of a computer program which has been designed to facilitate the extraction and coding of corpus data. In Study II, extraposed and post-predicate that- and to-clauses are contrasted in terms of their variation across genres, their lexical diversity and the meanings expressed by the adjectives most frequently found in each construction. Study III tests the applicability of the Complexity Principle and the Uniform Information Density Principle on adjectival data, by examining the variation between retaining and omitting the complementizer that across extraposed and post-predicate clauses. Study IV tests whether the syntactic status of I’m sure is similar to that of I think, i.e. whether it exhibits the same signs of grammaticalization.

    The results show that extraposed and post-predicate that-clauses are associated with similar meanings but differ in most other respects. Compared to post-predicate that-clauses, extraposed that-clauses are more frequent in formal genres, they are found with fewer instances of that-omission, and they are found to be more frequently represented in cognitively complex environments. Similarly, the results also show that extraposed and post-predicate to-clauses are associated with similar meanings, but differ in terms of their genre distribution. Instead, in terms of meaning, extraposed that- and to-clauses on the one hand, and post-predicate that- and to-clauses on the other, are similar to each other. The thesis highlights the importance of studying adjectival complementation in its own right, and not to treat it as subordinate to, or part of, verbal complementation.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2016-09-30 kl 10:15

    Qutait, Tasnim

    “The Pathos of Past Time”: Nostalgia in Anglo-Arab Literature

    Abstract

    This study explores the theme of nostalgia in contemporary Anglo-Arab literature from the 1990s to the present. Examining the implications of nostalgic tropes in Anglophone novels by Arab writers, the study makes the case that nostalgia is a key strategy used by these writers in their critical engagement with national historiographies and diasporic identities. Taking a comparative bilingual approach, the study relates particular nostalgic narratives that recur in Anglo-Arab writing to Arabic literary traditions. The opening chapter establishes that the “standing by the ruins” topos of classical Arabic poetics is used in Anglophone works to problematise a culturally pervasive nostalgia for an Islamic golden age. The second chapter reveals how novels set in the colonial era leverage the romanticisation of anticolonial nationalism to cast a critical light on the ideological functions of authenticity. The third chapter traces the ways in which Anglophone novels dramatise the failures of post-independence regimes through the interlinked nostalgic sites of childhood, home and family. Finally, the study focuses on Arab British novelists’ depiction of the diasporic site of ‘Arab London,’ and demonstrates that nostalgia is deployed as a performative mode in these texts, enabling the creation and revision of identities for migrant and second generation characters. The interconnections of identity and nostalgia are shown to be a recurring theme in the growing field of Anglophone Arab writing. This dissertation argues that nostalgic tropes are deployed in this literature in critical ways that challenge, rather than simply reiterate, nationalist and political ideologies. Utilising the nostalgic lens as an imaginative and critical form of engagement with history, Anglo-Arab writers insist on rendering visible the present repercussions of volatile histories, even as they challenge narratives that view the past not only as better than the uncertain present but, given that uncertainty, better than any imaginable future.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala 2016-12-17 kl 10:15

    Larsson, Tove

    The introductory it pattern in academic writing by non-native-speaker students, native-speaker students and published writers: A corpus-based study

    Abstract

    The present compilation thesis investigates the use of a pattern that is commonly found in academic writing, namely the introductory it pattern (e.g. it is interesting to note the difference). The main aim is to shed further light on the formal and functional characteristics of the pattern in academic writing. When relevant, the thesis also investigates functionally related constructions. The focus is on learner use, but reference corpora of published writing and non-native-speaker student writing have also been utilized for comparison. The thesis encompasses an introductory survey (a “kappa”) and four articles.

    The material comes from six different corpora: ALEC, BATMAT, BAWE, LOCRA, MICUSP and VESPA. Factors such as native-speaker status, discipline, level of achievement (lower-graded vs. higher-graded texts) and level of expertise in academic writing are investigated in the articles. In more detail, Articles 1 and 2 examine the formal (syntactic) characteristics of the introductory it pattern. The pattern is studied using modified versions of two previous syntactic classifications. Articles 3 and 4 investigate the functional characteristics of the pattern. In Article 3, a functional classification is developed and used to categorize the instances. Article 4 examines the stance-marking function of the pattern in relation to functionally related constructions (e.g. stance adverbs such as possibly and stance noun + prepositional phrase combinations like the possibility of).

    The introductory it pattern was found to be relatively invariable in the sense that a small set of formal and functional realizations made up the bulk of the tokens. The learners, especially those whose texts received a lower grade, made particularly frequent use of high-frequency realizations of the pattern. The thesis highlights the importance of not limiting investigations of this kind to comparisons across native-speaker status, as this is only one of the several factors that can influence the distribution. By exploring the potential importance of many different factors from both a formal and a functional perspective, the thesis paints a more complete picture of the introductory it pattern in academic writing, of use in, for instance, second-language instruction.

    Open access
  • 7-0043, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala 2015-11-13 kl 10:15

    Waites, Peter

    On the Boundaries of Watchmen: Paratextual Narratives across Media

    Abstract

    This dissertation is an intervention into the ongoing revisions of Gerard Genette’s concept of paratexts. Increasingly used in discussions of artifacts other than the literary novels that were Genette’s object of attention, the concept of paratexts has given rise to intense debates regarding the nature and functions of paratextual elements across media. One area of contestation is the relation of paratext to narrative. While Genette’s original paradigm complicates the possibility of a narrative paratext, I show that the liminal zones usually occupied by paratexts—what I call paratextual space—are commonly used for narrative purposes, particularly as popular narratives extend across media. In this dissertation, I analyze the different embodiments of Watchmen with a focus on such a use of paratextual spaces. I argue that studies of narratives presented in these spaces—what I refer to as paratextual narratives—will not only shed light on these narrative strategies, but also give new insights into how popular narratives extend across new media platforms.

    My first analytical chapter concerns the material that frames the Watchmen graphic narrative, and its roots in the media specific history and paratextual phenomenon known as lettercols. I show how this paratextual space was repurposed in the creation of Watchmen to present narrative material that worked to establish and augment the history of the storyworld and the characters presented in the graphic narrative of the Watchmen comics. I argue that the functions of these materials are influenced by the tradition established by the lettercols and the paratextual spaces in which they are situated. In my second analytical chapter I turn to the Watchmen adaptation, focusing in particular on the digital narratives framing the cinematic premiere of the film. I show how the paratextual nature of these materials occluded their narrative functions, causing them to be excluded from what is regarded the adaptation of Watchmen. I argue that the materials framing the Watchmen film are paratextual narratives that should be seen as integral parts of the Watchmen adaptation. In my conclusion I address the Watchmen prequel-series Before Watchmen and raise questions regarding how paratextual narratives function for media franchising.

    Open access
  • Geijerssalan, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2015-11-14 kl 10:15

    Haevens, Gwendolyn

    Mad Pursuits: Therapeutic Narration in Postwar American Fiction

    Abstract

    Mad Pursuits: Therapeutic Narration in Postwar American Fiction examines three mid-century American novels—J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951), Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952), and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (1963)—in relation to the rise and popularization of psychoanalytic theory in America. The study historicizes these landmark novels as representing and interrogating postwar America’s confidence in the therapeutic capacity of narrative to redress psychological problems. Drawing on key concepts from narrative theory and the multidisciplinary field of narrative and identity studies, I argue that these texts develop a multi-layered, formal problematization of therapeutic narration: the narrativization of the self through modes of interpretation based on character action and development. The study, thus, investigates how the texts both critique the purported effectiveness of being healed through narrative means, as well as how they problematize their society’s investment in this method. I propose that the novels ultimately explore submerged possibilities for realizing what I call fugitive selves by creating self-representations that negotiate and exceed the confines of the paradigmatic models of plot and character of the period.

    In Chapter One, I argue that the ego and pop psychological movements during the postwar era encouraged the American public to define and realize psychological health, success and happiness through narrativized means. I show in Chapter Two how careful differentiation between narrative levels of interpretation in The Bell Jar reveals the novel’s complication of the self created in narrative, with and against the socio-cultural scripts and therapeutic assumptions of the period. Chapter Three concentrates on The Catcher in the Rye’s various methods of de-composing the narrative identity of the subject created through developmental and therapeutic narration. In the final chapter, I read Invisible Man as a satire of postwar psychoanalytic theory and method specifically concerning racialized narrative identities, and as a reflection on a method of enduring psychological illness. The Conclusion brings together several argumentative strands running throughout the dissertation regarding what the novels contrastively reveal about the perils, and even the possibilities, inherent in the narrativizing of the self in early postwar America.

    Open access
  • Geijersalen, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala 2014-09-13 kl 10:15

    Jönsson, Ola

    Suburbia Rewritten: Masculinity and Affect in Contemporary American Literature

    Abstract

    Suburbia has made a powerful return in American literature of the past two decades. This renaissance of suburban fictional narrative bears the signum of alienated, anxious, and resentful white middle-class men in gray flannel suits that has remained since the formative postwar period of the 1950s and 1960s. However, as I show, contemporary suburban masculinities are also often marked by affects such as despair, rage, and shame. Importantly, male characters are represented as not only experiencing but also reflecting upon their emotions. This emphasis on male affective self-examination, I claim, is haunted by contemporaneous “masculinity in crisis” discourses about besiegement, victimization, and lost entitlement. I consider this emphasis part of an ongoing dialogue with the 1950s and 1960s, as new generations of writers have begun to interrogate the heritage of suburban literature and ideas about white middle-class masculinities.

    Investigating the dynamics between affect, male characters, and settings, I build upon the theories of Sianne Ngai’s “ugly feelings” and Peter Brooks’ propositions about modes of melodrama. I examine how representations of masculinity and affects reconfigure notions of domophobia, separate spheres, escapism, and flight from emotion, notions that have been central in masculinity studies and in literary criticism regarding the United States. To explore these revisits and reconfigurations, I survey a number of early postwar and contemporary texts. I look at the formative “postwar imaginary” that emerged in the 1950s and 60s in the texts by John Cheever, Philip Roth, Richard Yates, and John Updike, which I cast against a socio-historical and literary-critical background. I then offer a broad panoramic view of contemporary suburban fiction and focus on two case studies: Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm (1994) and Joyce Carol Oates’ My Sister, My Love (2008). These two novels, I show, reconfigure fictional suburban masculinity through their focus on family relations, particularly homosocial father-and-son relationships, where father characters are retrospectively critiqued and reimagined by sons who act as narrators. The texts examined in this project indicate how certain conventional images of suburban masculinity continue to circulate but are also negotiated, interrogated, and revised in contemporary American fiction. 

    Open access
  • room 7-0043, English Park Campus, Centre for the Humanities, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala, Uppsala 2013-12-06 kl 10:15

    Wang, Ying

    Delexical Verb + Noun Collocations in Swedish and Chinese Learner English

    Abstract

    This thesis deals with the use of delexical verb + noun collocations such as have no doubt, make a decision and give a speech in Swedish and Chinese learner English. The aim of the study is to investigate interlanguage (IL) developmental patterns as well as the role of L1 influence in the learners’ use of such collocations.

    Using a methodological framework that combines learner corpus research with a contrastive perspective, the study involves two comparable learner corpora as well as corpora of the target language (TL) and the source languages (Swedish and Chinese). In the study, the frequencies, lexical preferences and morphosyntactic characteristics of such collocations that occur in the corpora used are examined and compared. An error analysis is also conducted to reveal the difficulties faced by the learners.

    The results of the investigation demonstrate a medley of differences and affinities between the two ILs. It is argued that both the idiom principle and the open-choice principle are applied by the learners. The operation of the idiom principle, i.e. certain word strings are processed as single units, is closely associated with collocations which have rather restricted combinatorial and syntactic flexibility (e.g. take part in, make use of, give rise to), whereas the open-choice principle tends to manifest itself in more transparent and less fixed collocations (e.g. have a chance, get (an) education).  

    L1/IL comparisons throughout the study display only partial support for L1 influence. It is also argued that L1 influence is not restricted to errors; nor is it just linguistic. More often usage evincing L1 influence can be distinguished from correct usage, and the influence seems to be exerted at conceptual and discourse levels, affected by, for instance, culture-specific values and writing conventions. The study also reveals a subtle interplay between L1 influence and other factors such as essay topic, proficiency level, psychotypology, register awareness, overgeneralization, and reliance on all-purpose verbs. 

    Open access
  • Geijersalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3 P, Uppsala 2013-10-19 kl 10:15

    Dahlin, Heli

    Peter Ackroyd and the Borders of Englishness

    Abstract

    Since the dissolution of the British Empire, anxiety about the loss of Englishness has circulated at various sites of public discourse in Britain: politics, the media, education, culture and literature. This study investigates the configuration and representation of Englishness in Peter Ackroyd’s writing as exemplary of this anxiety. I explore how a melancholic nostalgia for a lost horizon of Englishness even pervades writing that displays a seemingly versatile and multifarious Englishness. I argue that Ackroyd’s writing of the 1990s and the 2000s casts Englishness as a defensive border against changes brought about by multiculturalism. Drawing on key ideas from postcolonial, feminist and queer theory, I interrogate the ways in which the borders of Ackroyd’s Englishness operate in a selection of his texts. These borders are, at once, geographical, political, racial, cultural and gendered limits that intersect to create a distinctly normative and homogeneous notion of Englishness. Across Ackroyd’s body of work there is a sense in which both textual play in its varied forms and his own notion of Englishness embrace variety and difference. Nevertheless, I argue that Ackroyd’s writing upholds anxieties about the loss of Englishness through subtle, and even covert, devices and structures of exclusion. While appearing to promote a versatile and inclusive understanding of Englishness, Ackroyd’s writing comes to reiterate a distinctly raced, gendered and imperial version of Englishness. In my analysis, Ackroyd’s writing is itself a melancholic act of forgetting England’s imperial past and, as such, naturalises a myth of Englishness that is built on uncritical reiteration of past notions of cultural worth. Englishness, English culture and the notion of canon are revitalised and at the same time de-politicised by Ackroyd in ways that, I argue, reflect broader patterns of nostalgia for imperial England at the turn of the century.

  • Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2013-10-05 kl 10:15

    Jonsson, Ewa

    Conversational Writing: A Multidimensional Study of Synchronous and Supersynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication

    Abstract

    This study is a linguistic investigation of two genres of computer-mediated communication (CMC), namely two modes of conversational writing: ‘Internet relay chat’ (synchronous CMC) and ‘split-window ICQ chat’ (supersynchronous CMC). The study employs Douglas Biber’s multifeature multidimensional methodology, taking into account the six dimensions of textual variation in English identified in his 1988 book Variation across speech and writing (i.e. Informational vs. Involved Production, Narrative vs. Non-Narrative Concerns, Explicit/Elaborated vs. Situation-Dependent Reference, etc.).

    The procedure of positioning the two CMC genres on Biber’s (1988) dimensions enables the systematic lexico-grammatical description of the genres relative to other genres of writing and speech. Out of Biber’s 67 linguistic features, the study identifies first and second person pronouns, direct WH-questions, analytic negation, demonstrative and indefinite pronouns, present tense verbs, predicative adjectives, contractions and prepositional phrases as the most salient features in the chats (prepositional phrases are conspicuous by their relative rarity).

    Although none of Biber’s (1988) dimensions constitutes a dichotomous distinction between writing and speech, they all differentiate among literate and oral genres in various respects. Among the genres studied by Biber are face-to-face and telephone conversations. By relating the CMC genres to the oral conversational genres on the dimensions, it is possible to assess the degree of orality in computer-mediated conversational writing, another undertaking of the study. The results support previous assumptions that synchronously mediated texts display more speech-like properties than asynchronous texts, but lend little support to an initial hypothesis that supersynchronously mediated conversational writing texts should be more speech-like than synchronously mediated ones.

    The study further employs M. A. K. Halliday’s model of semiotics, among other things to explain differences in the outcome of subtly divergent communicative settings, and argues for the inclusion of Halliday’s measure of lexical density in studies of linguistic variation involving conversational writing.

    Finally, two features not included in Biber’s (1988) methodology are found to be particularly indicative of conversational writing texts: inserts, specified in Biber et al.’s (1999) Longman grammar of spoken and written English, and emotives, a feature introduced in the study. Emotives comprise emoticons and sentiment initialisms.

    Open access
  • Geijersalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2012-09-29 kl 10:15

    Högberg, Elsa

    Intimacies: Ethics and Aesthetics in Virginia Woolf's Writing

    Abstract

    This study investigates Virginia Woolf’s configurations of intimacy in her experimental inter-war novels Jacob’s Room, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and The Waves. It focuses on the ethical and political positioning enabled by Woolf’s aesthetic delineation of moments of interiority in which distinctions between self and other are suspended. Such moments are depicted in these texts not simply as unsettling to subjectivity, but primarily as a mode of intimacy which makes possible, on the one hand, recognition of another individual’s perspective and, on the other, a critique of private and political forms of violence. I propose that Woolf’s representation of intimacy opposes an ideal of absolute subjective autonomy which, in her account, sustains patriotism, militarism and fascism. For Woolf, the defensive assertion of the first-person point of view is a kind of ethical violence closely related to the aggressive nationalisms causing two world wars. I read her fiction alongside recent theories of ethics, politics and representation by Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva, all of whom seek not only to account for the aggression of the self-assertive individual, but also to articulate notions of the individual subject as not strictly autonomous and therefore capable of ethical relations. I show, thereby, that Woolf’s writing casts intimacy and violence as questions of aesthetics. Her experimental novels emphasise the writer’s role in promoting non-violence: Woolf’s aesthetic practice and concern with interiority allow her to take a stance against the violence structuring British inter-war life. While critics tend to distinguish between Woolf’s exploration of the mind and her engagement with political and ethical concerns, this study argues that her modernist style conveys ethical as well as political commitments by affirming intimacy and interiority.

  • Geijersalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2012-06-08 kl 13:15

    Watz, Anna

    "A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic": Angela Carter and Surrealism

    Abstract

    This study examines the intersection of surrealism and feminism in the writing of Angela Carter. Tracing the full extent to which Carter’s writing was influenced by surrealist aesthetics and politics, it reveals the way in which her growing discontent with the movement’s gender politics gave critical content to her own feminist poetics. Surrealism, as a direct influence on her writing and as an integral part of her feminism, is shown to have remained a crucial element in Carter’s literary project as a whole. This study also extends critical feminist debates on surrealism more broadly in order to explore both the limits and the possibilities for feminism in reclaiming the representation of women and female desire.

    As a first step, chapter 1 elucidates the central presence in surrealism of the figure of woman and outlines key feminist responses to this figure. Carter’s early influence by, and subsequent critique of, surrealism is then situated in the context of this debate. Chapter 2 shows how – at the beginning of her literary career – Carter adopted a surrealist iconography of violence in order to produce both estrangement and shock, the effect of which is double-edged. While her writing at this stage aimed to challenge prescribed notions of femininity, it simultaneously uncritically made use of – and perpetuated – arguably misogynist surrealist imagery of gendered violence. Chapter 3 traces the subsequent shift in Carter’s writing towards a more overt use of surrealist iconography, at the same time as she began to formulate a more distinctly feminist critique of surrealist representations of women. Chapter 4 argues that Carter’s ensuing translation of Xavière Gauthier’s path-breaking study Surréalisme et sexualité is to be considered as a major reference point in Carter’s feminism. Furthermore, it argues that Gauthier’s study should be read as a companion piece to Carter’s polemic The Sadeian Woman. Lastly, chapter 5 investigates Carter’s fictional response to both Gauthier’s text and surrealism, and suggests that this response – both a critique and a celebration of surrealism – constitutes a renewal of surrealism itself.

  • Dressing Up and the Art of Jamaica Kincaid

    Borgström, Anna

    Abstract

    Whether her work is classified as fiction, biography, garden writing, or sketch, almost all ofJamaica Kincaid’s writing invokes the genre of autobiography. At the same time, she undercutsand complicates autobiographical readings of her work. Most critics have viewed Kincaid’sdisruption of autobiographical conventions as a response to personal or political trauma,but this thesis argues that her artistic investment in her engagement with the autobiographicalhas not yet been sufficiently addressed. The ambiguous invocation of autobiography,which Kincaid sustains and develops over time, works as a strategy for resistingdefinition and categorization – especially as based on race, gender, or nationality – and forasserting her individuality and uniqueness as an artist. Her manipulations of genre conventionsallow her to foreground her artistic methods and assume authority for her narratives, andalso to create a unique artistic persona.

    This thesis thus analyzes Kincaid’s intricate methods for dressing up the autobiographical,a strategy which both accentuates the autobiographical elements of her work and obscuresthem. The focus is on her use of references to the world outside the text, and to names, both ofwhich have the potential to signal autobiography. This thesis discusses the trends over time inKincaid’s manipulation of these traditional markers of autobiography in her early New Yorkercolumns, “Antigua Crossings,” At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiographyof My Mother, My Brother, My Garden (book):, Mr Potter, and Among Flowers.

    The ambiguous effect of these methods is greatly amplified when Kincaid’s texts link toeach other intertextually, as well as paratextually to sources such as interviews. Highlightingthe importance of these links, this study differentiates between uncognizant and cognizantreadings of Kincaid’s work. Cognizant readings – informed by intertextual and paratextuallinks and by necessity highly attentive – allow for a fuller appreciation of Kincaid’s artisticmethods. In addition to functioning as a strategy for resisting categorization, Kincaid’s engagementwith the autobiographical contributes to affect and nuance the view of the subject,the artist’s authority vis-à-vis her writing, and readings of texts. She constantly finds newways to dress up the autobiographical, and installments from her forthcoming novel indicatethat her innovation continues.

  • Ihresalen, Engelska Parken, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2011-12-09 kl 13:15

    Lyne, Susanna

    The Subject of the Verbal Gerund: A Study of Variation in English

    Abstract

    This study deals with variation between possessive/genitive and objective/plain forms of the subject of the verbal gerund clause (VGC) in Present-day and Late Modern British English, as in Would you object to my [me] paying her a visit? and Poor timing of spoonfuls can lead to the child’s [the child] feeling frustrated. According to the traditional prescriptivist view, the possessive/genitive form is the preferred variant. The aim of the present study is to explore to what extent possessive/genitive and objective/plain forms are used as subjects of VGCs, and to see what factors influence the variation.The study consists of synchronic and diachronic analyses. The synchronic data, drawn from the British National Corpus (BNC), represents four genres: Academic Prose, Fiction, News and Conversation. The diachronic data comprises collections of novels from the periods 1751–1800, 1851–1900 and 1960–1993 (the BNC Fiction genre). In addition to univariate analyses, multivariate analyses are performed in order to discover what factors carry more importance than others.When the VGC subject is a personal pronoun, e.g. my or me, genre plays a crucial role, with the proportion of possessives being conspicuously high in Academic Prose and significantly lower in the other genres. Regarding NPs other than personal pronouns, genre is not as important a factor; instead, the function of the VGC in the superordinate clause and linguistic factors such as animacy and the singular/plural distinction are also salient in determining variation.Moreover, results reveal that in the periods 1751–1800 and 1851–1900, the possessive form of a personal pronoun is the unchallenged norm, whereas the use of the possessive decreases considerably between the second and third periods. Genitive and plain-case forms of other NPs are evenly distributed in the first period; after that, the genitive is only used in certain contexts.

  • Geijersalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2010-12-18 kl 10:15

    Tydal, Fredrik

    Taken by Stealth: Everyday Life and Political Change in John Dos Passos's U.S.A. Trilogy

    Abstract

    John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy (1938) tells the story of an erosion of American values and ideals – an ideological shift – during the first three decades of the twentieth century. In this study, I explore how Dos Passos locates the mechanisms of this shift in the seemingly trivial aspects of everyday life. The trilogy, I propose, is characterized by a twofold concern with everyday life, encompassing both aesthetic interest and political anxiety. In chapter one, I present a series of interrelated literary, historical, and intellectual contexts that together reveal the significance and urgency of Dos Passos’s interest in everyday life. The ideas informing Dos Passos’s work, I propose, can be productively understood when placed alongside the theories of certain thinkers who turned their eyes to everyday life in the same period, chief among them Henri Lefebvre, but including also Walter Benjamin and Antonio Gramsci. In chapter two, I emphasize the centrality of everyday life to the historiographic character of the trilogy. Here, I view Dos Passos as a kind of chiffonnier, who finds historical significance in that which others have discarded, and expresses that significance through the techniques of montage. In chapter three, I investigate the central role played by mass culture in Dos Passos’s historical analysis; the trilogy depicts a society that has begun to internalize the properties of the dominant culture to the point where it affects people’s way of seeing the world, producing a form of indifference that impedes critical discrimination. In chapter four, I examine how the lack of discrimination engendered by the state of indifference is what allows the ideological shift to go by unnoticed in the everyday lives of the general public, culminating in what Dos Passos sees as the insufficient reaction to the violation of civil liberties in the Sacco-Vanzetti case. Taken together, the dissertation argues that the preoccupation with everyday life is central to the trilogy’s combined aesthetic, historical, and political project.

  • Geijersalen, Uppsala 2009-09-19 kl 10:15

    Beckman, Frida

    Reconfiguring Subjectivity: Experimental Narrative and Deleuzean Immanence

    Abstract

    This thesis aims to re-think subjectivity in constructive rather than deconstructive terms of disintegration and dismantling. This shift is effected through a reading of Gilles Deleuze that brings together two concepts that are incompatible in his philosophy – immanence and subjectivity – and by my reading of three fictional texts that engage Deleuze in a generative dialogue.

    Kathy Acker’s novel Great Expectations, David Mack’s graphic novel series Kabuki, and David Lynch’s film Mulholland Drive are all postmodern texts that have been read predominantly as portraying subjectivities as fragmented through strategies of intertextuality, metatextuality, and fragmentation. These texts, I argue, can be seen as positing alternative and more productive subjectivities if approached via the Deleuzean concepts of repetition, univocity, and the event. At the same time, these particular works “speak back” to Deleuze and create some tensions concerning how his concepts may be understood.

    In Chapter One, I show how Deleuze’s concept of repetition is applicable to but also rethought through Acker’s novel via the more forceful notion of pirating. Pirating, I suggest, can be seen as a textual strategy that employs and builds on repetition to help us re-envisage certain literary traditions of how subjectivity is presented. In Chapter Two I suggest that the concept of univocity makes it possible to envision how a violent inscription of subjectivity can be reconfigured through negotiations of visual and verbal signs. I investigate how Mack’s presentation of faces and masks questions Deleuze’s understanding of the face as a crucial component in the construction of a transcendent subjectivity. In Chapter Three, I discuss aural and visual reconfigurations of Hollywood clichés in Lynch’s film through Deleuze’s concept of the event.The event, as denoting a shift between virtual and actual, enables me to discuss the creative potential opened by the complex temporalities through which the main female characters are portrayed. In sum, alternative and more affirmative subjectivities emerge in the works of Acker, Mack, and Lynch once their textual tensions and slippages are put in a productive exchange with Deleuzean thought.

  • Geijersalen, Engelska parken. Humanistiskt centrum. Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala 2009-12-11 kl 10:15

    Dodou, Katherina

    Childhood Without Children: Ian McEwan and the Critical Study of the Child

    Abstract

    This study has a twofold ambition. First, it offers a new perspective on Ian McEwan’s works by focusing on his treatment of childhood. Second, by using McEwan’s writing as an example, it seeks to challenge the current critical preoccupation with childhood in the novel in terms solely of child characters. The dissertation argues that it is more productive to understand childhood as an entity distinct from children. Focusing on figurative uses of the child in fiction, it considers the significance of childhood in works that do not treat child characters. It shows that the inclusion of images and metaphors of childhood has significant thematic and formal implications for the overall meanings of literary artefacts.

    The thesis draws on recent scholarship in sociology and cultural studies which views images of children as documenting societal assumptions. The dissertation employs this approach to the child figure in culture to account for the use of childhood imagery in McEwan's novels.

    The discussion is comprised of two parts. Part one provides a critical and historical background to the field of childhood studies, the portrayal of childhood in the British novel and McEwan criticism. Part two begins by analysing the representation of a child in Atonement, then continues with the thematisation of childhood in the absence of children in The Child in Time, and then considers the figurative employment of childhood images in The Innocent and Saturday. The dissertation demonstrates that perceptions of childhood are key to McEwan’s critique of post-war British culture and notions of national identity, history, citizenship and civic disorder. More importantly, the dissertation offers a new paradigm for the critical examination of childhood in the novel – one which sheds light on the metaphorical uses of childhood. Ultimately, the thesis illuminates childhood’s capacity to define as well as to disseminate societal values.

  • Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala 2009-06-08 kl 10:15

    MacQueen, Donald

    The Integration of MILLION into the English System of Number Words: A Diachronic Study

    Abstract

    This corpus-based variationist study traces the history of the English number word MILLION from its first attested use in the 14th century, focusing on the diachronic shift in function from one of heading its noun phrase (NP), as in the obsolescent (Obs) construction three millions of citizens, to one of a post-determiner of its NP head, as in Present-day English (PdE) three million citizens. The authentic historical materials used include both numerous electronic linguistic corpora and, more innovatively, very-large-scale general collections available online, especially historical newspaper collections from the US and UK comprising tens of billions of words. The latter sources necessitated the development of new methods for detailed processing of search results which enabled the documentation of the shift from Obs to PdE constructions in American (AmE) and British (BrE) English newspapers. The historical analysis of the ontological/semantic and morphosyntactic aspects of MILLION is based on universal constraints on number words. After extensive discussion of historical usage, including patterns of semantics and morphosyntax involving HUNDRED and THOUSAND in Old and Middle English, the study reaffirms the validity of these universals but restates them using updated terminology, seeing MILLION in the Obs construction above as exemplifying a condition of government in its NP and in the PdE construction one of dependency, the latter also being more economical and iconic and harmonizing better with semantics. The shift from Obs to PdE usage is shown to have occurred roughly three decades earlier in AmE newspapers (>50% ~mid-1880s) than BrE newspapers (>50% ~mid-1910s), and AmE is posited as easing the shift in BrE. Alternative numeral expressions (000,000) played a unique, dynamically related temporary role during the transition period, complicating statistical patterns. Finally, numerous factors, mostly linguistic, are documented in large-scale databases as respectively accelerating and retarding the usage shift.

  • Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Engelska parken, Uppsala 2009-06-12 kl 10:00

    Ingridsdotter, Kicki

    Aided Derbforgaill "The violent death of Derbforgaill": A critical edition with introduction, translation and textual notes

    Abstract

    This dissertation contains a critical edition of the early Irish tale Aided Derbforgaill “the violent death of Derbforgaill”. It includes an introduction discussing the main thematic components of the tale as well as intertextuality, transmission and manuscript relationship. The edition is accompanied by transcripts from the three manuscript copies of the tale and textual notes.

    Aided Derbforgaill is an Ulster Cycle tale and belongs to a category of tales describing the death of prominent heroes, rarely heroines, in early Irish literature. Arriving in the shape of a bird to mate with the greatest of all heroes, Cú Chulainn, Derbforgaill is refused by Cú Chulainn on account of him having sucked her blood. Forced to enter a urination competition between women, and upon winning this, Derbforgaill is mutilated by the other competitors. The tale ends with two poems lamenting the death of Derbforgaill. This very short tale is complex, not only in its subject matter, but in the elliptical language of the poetry. Thematically the tale is a combination of very common motifs found elsewhere in early Irish literature, such as the Otherworld, metamorphosis and the love of someone unseen, and some rare motifs that are almost unique to this tale, such as blood sucking and the urination competition. The text also have clear sexual overtones.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2009-05-09 kl 10:15

    Anglemark, Linnéa

    Address Terms in Computer Mediated Communication: Email, Chat and Weblogs

    Abstract

    This dissertation focuses on the use of address phrases in three forms of computer mediated communication (CMC) in English. The aim of the study is to examine how people address each other in email, online chat and weblogs. The three forms of CMC included in the study represent different types of communicative situations online as regards synchronicity, speed of production, number of participants and permanency. The study also investigates how the use of address phrases varies between the three forms and in relation to usage in spoken and other forms of written English.

    For the purposes of the project, three corpora were collected, one for each form of CMC. The email corpus comprises business email from the United States, the chat corpus includes data from a range of different types of multi-person chat rooms, and the weblog corpus consists of text from a number of personal weblogs. I then investigated the lexical and syntactic characteristics and the pragmatic functions of the address phrases found in the corpora. In the email and weblogs material, I also examined gender-related differences in the use of address phrases.

    The results of the investigation show that CMC users employ different types of address phrases in different forms of CMC; first names and online nicknames dominated in the email and chat material, while the weblogs included a large number of common nouns as headwords in the address phrase. Address phrases are also used for different pragmatic purposes in different types of CMC.

  • Geijersalen, Engelska Parken, Humanistiskt Centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2007-09-21 kl 10:15

    Svensson, Anna

    Almost There: Approaches to Closure in the Works of Sylvia Plath

    Abstract

    This study of Sylvia Plath’s writings investigates aspects of representations of life and life stories. It is composed of three distinct analyses, the shared feature being their focus on the connection between narrative closure and closure in life. By stressing relations between structure and theme, the study tries to avoid biographical readings without disengaging the writer from the work. The study explores how Plath’s thematic and narrative approaches to the end create a framework for storytelling in individual poems, in life writing, and throughout a poetic oeuvre. Firstly, it observes differences between representations of first- and third-person deaths, and suggests that Plath’s poems set up and follow guidelines that govern the representation of death. Secondly, foregrounding how the journals depend on the diarist’s ability to keep on writing, this study proposes that works dealing with the father’s death demonstrate that a search for closure in life and in narrative is related to the act of living, whether the traces of the author originate in a biographical reference or in the fact that Plath over the years creates variations on scenes of death. Thirdly, it examines how a family story changes over time because of circumstances outside the family sphere. Plath’s speakers repeatedly find that either emigration or war has ended their life stories, and so they must return to the past again and again in order to make a story as complete and bearable as possible. In the texts explored, when there is a desire to tell a story about life, death becomes an essential part of the storytelling, as does the end. However, although these works may seem death-driven, the examination of death or the end of a family story is propelled by the speakers’ or narrators’ endeavor to continue telling stories.

  • 3248, Östra flygeln, Campus Gräsvik, Karlskrona 2007-09-14 kl 10:00

    Engberg, Maria

    Born Digital: Writing Poetry in the Age of New Media

    Abstract

    This study investigates Anglophone digital poems, created with and disseminated through digital computer media, for their visual, kinetic, and textual practices. I seek to articulate an analytic method grounded in close readings of selected poems. I have chosen to focus on poetic practices that raise questions about spatiality, temporality, kineticism, and word-and-image construction. My chief interest lies in how poetic form is orchestrated and what forms of engagement these digital constructions present the reader with.

    Underlying the main arguments of this study is an understanding of literary works in general as materially, culturally, and historically situated entities. Such “attention to material” is brought to bear on the digital poems that I analyze. Building upon N. Katherine Hayles’s notion of a “media-specific analysis,” I propose a materially specific analysis. In line with this proposition, I investigate particular properties of three clusters of poems. I propose terms such poemevents, cinematographic poems, and visual noise poems.

    A common feature of digital poems is the multisensory experience created through visual, auditive, tactile, kinetic, and textual artifice. The reader’s level of interaction is often of utmost importance. To articulate the different roles that the reader has to take on, I use two compound terms: reader/user and reader/viewer/listener. I argue that the active embodied engagement that is required of the reader/user in some digital poems and the denial of an active participation in others is part of the works’ materiality.

    Digital poetry as a field is expanding; it would not be too daring to claim that the exploration of the writing of poetry in the age of new media has only begun. I conclude the thesis by looking forward to what might lay ahead, how literary scholarship can be inspired by digital poetic work, and the questions about literary materiality that it poses.

  • Ihresalen, Engelska Parken, Humanistiskt Centrum, Hus 21, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala 751 20 2007-11-17 kl 10:15

    Rasmussen Goloubeva, Irina

    Between Colonialism and Nationalism: Art, History, and Politics in James Joyce’s Ulysses

    Abstract

    Through a thorough analysis of all eighteen episodes of Ulysses, this study advances a dialectical reading of Ireland’s pre-revolutionary imagination as it unfolds in James Joyce’s novel. By tracing Joyce’s engagements with British colonialism, national romanticism and the Celtic Revival, this study views Joyce’s modernist project as a comprehensive literary response to Ireland’s changing aesthetic sensibilities, political fortunes, and social concerns.

    As the first comprehensive dialectical account of Ulysses’s modernist aesthetic, it charts the novel’s shift from individual consciousness to a collective awareness. It reads the novel’s final episodes as a series of modernist ‘illuminations’ that project a shared desire for solidarity and social transformation. As Joyce undoes aesthetic and political idealization, sentimentalism, and individualism, he expresses a crisis in liberal thought: its being straddled between colonialism and nationalism. Connecting this crisis of liberalism to Ulysses’s aesthetic form—the negative resolutions in the narrative, its structure of the modernist Sublime, and its dialectical reversals—this study refutes the popular myth that Joyce’s aesthetic is individualist and apolitical. As it registers the Irish people’s drive towards emancipation, Ulysses complicates progressivist appeals for Ireland’s modernization.

    Via dialectical readings of the sociopolitical contradictions sustained in Joyce’s narrative, this study highlights the democratic politics inherent to Joyce’s representation: Joyce’s critique of nationalist politics, which reproduce the colonial state’s social inequalities, and of culturalist discourses, which aestheticize political concerns and impose a divisive identitarian logic. Tapping into Ireland’s nationalist imagination, Ulysses speaks from the political and social margins. Joyce’s vision of Ireland’s transformation decisively reverses liberalism’s separation of the individual and collective, the private and public; his egalitarian politics and democratic art dismantle the broken promises of liberal and economic capitalism.

  • Ihresalen, Humanistiskt Centrum, Thunbergsväg 3 L, Uppsala 2007-04-28 kl 10:15

    Haines, Colin

    "Frightened by a Word": Shirley Jackson and Lesbian Gothic

    Abstract

    This study examines representations and configurations of lesbianism in literary narrative and, in particular, three novels by American author Shirley Jackson (1916-1965). As recent scholarly work has demonstrated, representations of sexuality between women in literature tend toward the ghostly, the Gothic. Examining the ideological import of such representations, this study likewise considers what happens in narrative once lesbianism is "occulted" this way. Central to this analysis is the issue of subjectivity, of who sees what, how, and why. In its examination of three novels by Shirley Jackson--Hangsaman (1951), The Haunting of Hill House (1959), and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)--this study draws on theories of performativity and subjectivity as put forward by feminism/queer theory and, in particular, Judith Butler. Central to this investigation is how these texts repeat and, simultaneously, fail to repeat literary conventions linking lesbian and Gothic, as well as how that repetition, and its failure, affect overall interpretation.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2007-03-31 kl 10:15

    Lilja, Sara

    Gender-Related Terms in English Depositions, Examinations and Journals, 1670–1720

    Abstract

    This dissertation focuses on gender-related terms as well as adjectives and demonstratives in connection with these terms used in texts from the period 1670–1720. The material in the study has been drawn from both English and American sources and comes from three text categories: depositions, examinations and journals. Two of these text categories represent authentic and speech-related language use (depositions and examinations), whereas the third (journals) is representative of a non-speech-related, non-fictional text category. While previous studies of gender-related terms have primarily investigated fictional material, this study focuses on text categories which have received little attention so far.

    The overarching research question addressed in this study concerns the use and distribution of gender-related terms, especially with regard to referent gender. Data analyses are both quantitative and qualitative, and several linguistic and extra-linguistic factors are taken into account, such as the semantic domain to which the individual gender-related term belongs, region of origin and referent gender. Adjectives and demonstratives collocating with the gender-related terms are also investigated, as previous research has shown that referent gender has an impact on the use of adjectives as well.

    The results show that the use of gender-related terms is influenced by both region of origin and referent gender. It is suggested that this is due in part to the difference in nature between Early Modern English society and the early American colonies, and in part due to the social roles which men and women had. Referent gender also has an impact on the type of adjectives used in connection with gender-related terms: adjectives collocating with gender-related terms denoting men have positive connotations to a larger extent than do adjectives collocating with their female counterparts; meanwhile, gender-related terms denoting women tend to collocate with negative adjectives.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3 L, Uppsala 2006-05-06 kl 10:15

    Holmsten, Elin

    The Hermeneutics of Otherness in Medbh McGuckian's Poetry

    Abstract

    This dissertation examines the works of the Irish poet Medbh McGuckian (1950-), from her first major collection The Flower Master (1982) to The Book of the Angel (2004). The central thesis of this study is that McGuckian’s poetry dramatises the relationship between the self and the other as a dialogue between what is beyond the immediate grasp of the self, on the one hand, and the interpretive activity of the self, on the other, a process I term the hermeneutics of otherness.

    The study traces this hermeneutic process in relation to three levels of otherness: internal otherness, the otherness of other human beings, and the absolute alterity of the wholly other. Drawing on the theories of Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur, I explore the hermeneutics of otherness through an examination of three prominent themes in McGuckian’s poetry, namely representation, desire and corporeality. Firstly, it is shown that McGuckian’s meta-representational poems call attention to the spatial and temporal gaps of language, which are seen to allow otherness to enter into dialogue with the self. Secondly, it is suggested that McGuckian’s poetry is characterised by an existential desire to be, which can be described as a desire to extend consciousness beyond the limits of its present cognitive horizon, towards both internal and external otherness, and it is shown that the circulation of desire between the self and the other is depicted as mutual and many-levelled. Thirdly, it is argued that in McGuckian’s poetry the body is both a site of alterity, as well as a means of approaching the other differently, that is, in a way which avoids reification of the other in conceptual frameworks, while still allowing for an exchange, or what one might call a hermeneutics of flesh.

  • Geijersalen, Humanistiskt Centrum,Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2006-05-13 kl 10:15

    Cullhed, Christina

    Grappling with Patriarchies: Narrative Strategies of Resistance in Miriam Tlali's Writings

    Abstract

    This study is the first one devoted solely to the writings of the South African black novelist Miriam Tlali. It argues that her works constitute literary resistance not only to apartheid, noted by previous scholars, but also to South African patriarchies. Examining Tlali’s novels Muriel at Metropolitan (1975) and Amandla! (1980), and several short stories from Mihloti (1984) and Footprints in the Quag (1989), the study pits these texts against the black literary tradition dominated by men and also reads them within the social context of South African patriarchies, with its social restrictions on women and its taboos concerning sexualities. To distance herself from the patriarchal values inherent in the male literary tradition and to negotiate social and sexual restrictions on women, I argue, Tlali deploys narrative strategies like generic difference, generic dialogism, a double-voiced discourse, “whispering,” and “distancing.”

    Drawing on the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin and Julia Kristeva, this study first explores “novelistic” traits in Muriel which function both to resist male literary conventions, like the epic mode of narrative, and to criticise their patriarchal ideology. Second, relying on Bakhtin, it analyses the generic dialogism and double-voicedness in Amandla!. Finally, making use of Kristeva’s semiotics and her theory of sacrifice, the study traces the development of a sacrificial discourse of gendered violence from Amandla! to some of Tlali’s short stories. Supported by Martha J. Reinecke’s explication of Kristeva, I show that Tlali’s texts insist that gendered violence upholds the sacrificial economies of both patriarchal apartheid and African patriarchy. The strategies of “whispering” and “distancing,” I claim, surface in Tlali’s addressing of the sensitive issues of black women’s victimisation and gendered violence. “Whispering” entails muting the criticism of the perpetrators of gendered violence, whereas “distancing” results in dis/placing gendered violence on the margins of the community. This study also examines the literary/social context of Tlali’s oeuvre: it explores specific traits of the South African black literary tradition, how the issue of rape has been addressed there, and the depiction of African patriarchy in autobiographies by South African black women.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Humanistiskt Centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2006-01-21 kl 10:15

    Sveen, Hanna Andersdotter

    "Honourable" or "Highly-sexed": Adjectival Descriptions of Male and Female Characters in Victorian and Contemporary Children's Fiction

    Abstract

    This corpus-based study examines adjectives and adjectival expressions used to describe characters in British children’s fiction. The focus is on diachronic variation, by comparing Victorian (19th-century) and contemporary (late 20th-century) children’s fiction, and on gender variation, by comparing the descriptions of female and male characters. I adopt a qualitative as well as a quantitative approach, and consider factors such as lexical diversity, adjectival density, collocation patterns, evaluative meaning, syntactic function and distribution across semantic domains. Most findings are related to a dichotomy set up between an idealistic and a realistic portrayal of characters. The study shows that an idealistic portrayal of characters is typical of the Victorian material and a realistic portrayal of characters typical of the contemporary material. Further, gender differences are much more pronounced, and reflect traditional gender role patterns more in the Victorian material than in the contemporary material. For instance, a pleasant appearance is typically described for Victorian female characters and social position for Victorian male characters. Moreover, descriptions of mental properties of Victorian female characters are conspicuously rare. Such gendered patterns are less distinct in the contemporary material, although appearance is still more extensively described for female than male characters. As regards how the qualities are attributed to characters, the descriptions of Victorian female characters were found to be the most formulaic compared to the descriptions of Victorian male, contemporary female and contemporary male characters.

    Open access
  • Geijersalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2005-12-10 kl 13:15

    McElwee, Johanna

    The Nation Conceived: Learning, Education, and Nationhood in American Historical Novels of the 1820s

    Abstract

    This study explores the role of learning and education in American historical fiction written in the 1820s. The United States has been, and still is, commonly considered to be hostile to scholarly learning. In novels and short stories of the 1820s, however, learning and education are recurrent themes, and this dissertation shows that the attitudes to these issues are more ambivalent than hitherto acknowledged. The 1820s was a period characterized by a political struggle, expressed as a battle between intellectuals, represented by the sitting president, John Quincy Adams, a Harvard professor, and anti-intellectuals, headed by the war hero Andrew Jackson. The battle over the place of scholarly learning in the U.S. was played out not only on the political scene but also in historical fiction, where the themes of learning and education become vehicles for exploring national identity. In these texts, whose aim is often to establish an impressive national history, scholarly learning carries negative connotations as it is linked to the former colonizer Britain and also symbolizes social stratification. However, it also stands for civilization and progress, qualities felt to be necessary for the nation to come into its own. The conflicting views and anxieties surrounding the issues of learning and education tend to center on a recurrent character in these texts, the learned person.

    After providing an overview of how the themes of learning and education are treated in historical narratives from the 1820s, this dissertation focuses on works of three writers: Hobomok (1824) and The Rebels (1825) by Lydia Maria Child, The Prairie (1827) by James Fenimore Cooper, and Hope Leslie (1827) by Catharine Maria Sedgwick.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3 L, Uppsala 2005-04-02 kl 10:15

    Bonnevier, Jenny

    Estranging Cognition: Feminist Science Fiction and the Borders of Reason

    Abstract

    This study explores the intersections of three different fields: feminism, science fiction, and epistemology. It argues that as a genre, science fiction is dependent on epistemological discourses that have their roots in the stories and self-images of modern science. Furthermore, it is argued, these discourses are gendered and operate to reinforce patriarchal assumptions about gender and knowledge. Drawing on a tradition of feminist epistemology, works by Suzy McKee Charnas, Ursula Le Guin, and Joanna Russ are analyzed as engaging with and challenging these epistemologically loaded and fundamentally gendered discourses in different ways and in varying degrees.

    The study can be divided into two parts. Chapters one and two examine discourses on science fiction history and identity in the context of the origin stories of science, highlighting the links between reason, progress, authority and gender. They establish the traditional maleness of “reason” and its implications in the idea(l)s of progress, as they appear both in the texts of epistemology and in the texts of science fiction. Texts by Charnas, Le Guin, and Russ are read as challenges to ideologies of reason and progress, and thereby as reinscribing generic conventions as well as displacing traditional epistemological assumptions.

    Critically interrogating the traditional subject of knowledge, chapters three and four read the fiction of Charnas, Le Guin, and Russ as displacing this subject and exploring alternative understandings. The mainstream/malestream epistemological idea(l) of “a view-from-nowhere” is connected to the science fiction convention of “the-idea-as-hero,” and both are critiqued as significantly gendered concepts that serve to obfuscate the social and political dimensions of the subject of knowledge. Finally, (female) experience, emotions, and the body – three areas commonly designated as beyond the scope of epistemology proper – are explored as epistemic resources rather than liabilities.

  • Ihresalen, Humanistiskt Centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3 L, Uppsala 2005-10-01 kl 10:15

    Zetterberg Pettersson, Eva

    The Old World Journey: National Identity in Four American Novels from 1960 to 1973

    Abstract

    A commonly held assumption among literary critics is that the motif of the European journey is exhausted in American literature in the post-World-War-II period. Challenging this view, the present study claims that the Old World journey narrative lives on, but in new guises, and that it continues to be a forum for the discussion of American national identity. Studying four novels about Americans traveling to Europe – William Styron’s Set This House on Fire (1960), Mary McCarthy’s Birds of America (1971), John A. Williams’s The Man Who Cried I Am (1967) and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying (1973) – this thesis examines the ways in which the European journey is utilized for a questioning of “America.” Informed by the political debates of their time, which lead, for example, to the displacement of hegemonic ideologies such as nationalism, they share a critical stance vis-à-vis the conventional construction of national identity. They represent, however, different strands of the contemporary political counterculture; while the first two texts view national identity from the center of American society, addressing a moral and an ideological/intellectual critique, respectively, the last two represent marginal perspectives, that of the African American and feminist protest movements. The function of the European setting in the four novels is also scrutinized: in all of them the European setting provides the backdrop for a story that deals, almost exclusively, with American culture; it serves in a variety of ways, for example as a many-facetted stage, an experimental ground, or a zone of liberation. The Coda sketches recent developments in the 1980s and 1990s, finding the motif of initiation and the figure of the independent warm-hearted American girl to persist and the myth of American innocence to continue to be contested.

    Open access
  • room 16-0043, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2005-06-10 kl 10:15

    Berglund, Ylva

    Expressions of Future in Present-day English: A Corpus-based Approach

    Abstract

    This corpus-based study of the use of expressions of future in English has two aims: to examine how certain expressions of future are used in Present-day English, and to explore how electronic corpora can be exploited for linguistic study.

    The expressions focused on in this thesis are five auxiliary or semi-auxiliary verb phrases frequently discussed in studies of future reference in English: will, ’ll, shall, going to and gonna. The study examines the patterned ways in which the expressions are used in association with various linguistic and non-linguistic (or extra-linguistic) factors. The linguistic factors investigated are co-occurrence with particular words and co-occurrence with items of particular grammatical classes. The non-linguistic factors examined are medium (written vs. spoken), text category, speaker characteristics (age, sex, social class, etc.), region and time. The data for the study are exclusively drawn from computer-readable corpora of Present-day English. Corpus analyses are performed with automatic and interactive methods, and exploit both quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques.

    The study finds that the use of these expressions of future varies with a number of factors. Differences between spoken and written language are particularly prominent and usage also varies between different types of text, both within spoken and written corpora. Variation between groups of speakers is also attested. Although the linguistic co-occurrence patterns are similar to some degree, there are nonetheless differences in the collocational patterns in which the expressions are used.

    Methodological issues related to corpus-based studies in general are discussed in the light of the insights gained from this study of expressions of future.

    Open access
  • Room 16-0043, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala 2005-06-11 kl 10:15

    Walker, Terry

    Second Person Singular Pronouns in Early Modern English Dialogues 1560-1760

    Abstract

    This dissertation is a corpus-based investigation examining thou and you from 1560 to 1760 in three speech-related genres: Trials, Depositions, and Drama Comedy. Previous research has focused on Drama Comedy; especially little attention has been paid to Depositions. The material is from A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760 and manuscript material collected from archives in England. The data analysis is both quantitative and qualitative, and the study embraces the fields of corpus linguistics, historical pragmatics and historical sociolinguistics.

    The aims are to study variation in the use of thou and you across the 200-year period, to investigate which extra-linguistic and linguistic factors appear particularly relevant in the selection and relative distribution of thou and you. The overarching hypothesis is that extra-linguistic factors more than linguistic factors will influence pronoun usage. Previous research suggests that those of inferior status (e.g. based on sex, age, and/or rank) would address superiors as you, but would tend to receive thou; those of equal status, except perhaps those of low rank, would tend to exchange you. However, research shows that other extra-linguistic factors are also important, e.g. level of emotion, formality.

    For each genre, the role played by extra-linguistic factors in the data for thou and you is treated: in the macro-analyses, the data is quantified according to the sex, age, and rank of speaker/addressee to test the hypotheses based on previous research regarding relative status. In the micro-analyses a range of extra-linguistic factors are considered by examining specific dialogues, in order to highlight trends. The role of linguistic factors on the data for all three genres is treated separately. The results show that extra-linguistic factors, primarily rank, emotion, formality, genre, and time, influence both pronoun selection and distribution. No clear evidence was found to indicate that linguistic factors were influential in pronoun usage.

  • Geijersalen, SVC, Villavägen 4, Uppsala 2005-05-21 kl 10:15

    Matlok-Ziemann, Ellen

    Tomboys, Belles, and Other Ladies: The Female Body-Subject in Selected Works by Katherine Anne Porter and Carson McCullers

    Abstract

    This study investigates how the Southern writers Katherine Anne Porter and Carson McCullers negotiate the process of becoming a woman in their texts and expose and ridicule the artificiality of that category. Focusing on a selection of Porter’s “Miranda stories” (published between 1935 and 1941) and “The Princess” (1993) and McCullers’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), The Member of the Wedding (1946), and The Ballad of the Sad Café (1943), I argue that both writers voice their protest against patriarchal society that forecloses women’s assumption of subjectivity. Using Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s and Simone de Beauvoir’s theory of “being-in-the-world,” which rejects the notion of a mechanistic body but understands the mind as always embodied, and Simone de Beauvoir’s concept of the female body-subject, I show how Porter and McCullers find a reciprocal relationship with others, as Beauvoir advocates it, impossible; in patriarchal society woman is always cast as the Other. Yet, while both writers criticize patriarchal violence and often use the same means to challenge and ridicule rigid gender norms, there are differences in their perception of identity. Porter suggests that the concept of identity as constantly changing and unfixed does not exist in Southern plantation society, the Old Order. But even when “being-in-the-world” becomes, in fact, possible after the demise of the Old Order, this dialectical relationship is disturbed and experienced as threatening and burdensome. McCullers, on the other hand, expresses a strong desire for ambiguity and change. McCullers suggests, I argue, that an ideal way of being in the world–“becoming”–can be achieved by a suspension of gender boundaries. Only then is it possible for a woman to engage in a reciprocal relationship with others as she no longer regards her body as a prison.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Villavägen 4, Uppsala 2004-04-24 kl 10:15

    Grund, Peter

    "Misticall Wordes and Names Infinite": An Edition of Humfrey Lock's Treatise on Alchemy, with an Introduction, Explanatory Notes and Glossary

    Abstract

    This dissertation contains an edition of Humfrey Lock’s (fl. 1560–1570) treatise on alchemy, and includes an introduction to the edition, explanatory notes and a glossary. The edition presents the text of Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 1490, which was copied out and annotated in 1590 by Dr Simon Forman (1552–1611).

    Lock’s treatise primarily deals with the production of the philosophers’ stone or elixir, which was thought to transmute base metals into silver and gold, or heal bodily diseases and prolong life. In the introduction, I explore the sociohistorical background of Lock’s alchemical text and demonstrate that Lock compiled his treatise while he was in Russia, intending it as a gift to Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley. I also examine the large number of Latin and vernacular sources from which the text was compiled. The extant manuscripts of the text are described in detail and the textual relationships of the manuscripts are charted with the help of a database method which was devised for the purpose. Finally, various aspects of alchemical language are discussed, as are the linguistic features of the edited manuscript, MS Ashmole 1490.

    There is currently a lack of editions of alchemical writings in English. By providing a scholarly edition of Lock’s treatise, this dissertation represents a step towards remedying the situation. This edition also illustrates the strong position of alchemy in late 16th-century England, and provides new information on aspects of the vernacularisation of alchemical texts and the characteristics of alchemical language.

  • Ihresalen, SVC, Villavägen 4, Uppsala 2004-05-26 kl 10:15

    Linzie, Anna

    The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: Almost the Same but not Quite/not Straight in the Toklas Autobiographies

    Abstract

    This study investigates three texts that can be provisionally defined as “Toklas autobiographies,” or inscriptions of “the true story of Alice B. Toklas.” These are Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) and The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book (1954) and What Is Remembered (1963) by Alice B. Toklas. While Stein’s text belongs to the canon, Toklas’ “own” autobiographies have been largely neglected in literary criticism and history. In order to counter this asymmetry, this study brings the three Toklas autobiographies together for analysis, and shifts the critical perspective to conceptualize the Stein-Toklas sexual/textual relationship as fundamentally reciprocal, Toklas as indispensable to Stein’s literary production, and Toklas as a cultural laborer and a writer of her own books.

    The Toklas autobiographies are characterized by repetition. Repetition in autobiography creates a fundamental ambivalence: the possibility of a crucial split between historical person and autobiographical persona, between world and word. This abyss between text and hors-texte troubles discourse in general. However, autobiography is a special case, often considered particularly problematic in this regard, and the Toklas autobiographies make the text/life rift visible to an extent which is not typical of the genre. As lesbian autobiographies, moreover, these texts defy not only the protocol of autobiographical discourse but also the expectations of normative heterosexuality.

    The main hypothesis of this study is that “the true story of Alice B. Toklas” resides in the destabilization and textualization of autobiographical truth, and in the strategic deauthorization of the author. Instead of looking for autobiographical truth, these texts can be reconsidered as practices of writing, as commodities, and in relation to the legendary division of labor in the Stein-Toklas marriage. Instead of looking for the author, these texts can be constructed as indications that Toklas’ authorial agency resides in a certain reverse discourse of absence.

  • Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Villavägen 4, Uppsala 2004-05-25 kl 10:15

    Hansson, Karin

    The Autonomous and the Passive Progressive in 20th-Century Irish

    Abstract

    The present study deals with the use of two Irish verb constructions, the autonomous (e.g. cuireadh litreacha chun bealaigh, ‘letters were dispatched’) and the passive progressive (e.g. bhí m’athair á leigheas acu, ‘my father was being cured by them’), in a corpus of 20th-century texts. From this corpus, 2,956 instances of the autonomous and 467 instances of the passive progressive were extracted and included in the analysis. Dialectal variation concerning the use of these two constructions is also surveyed.

    The study explores and compares the use of the autonomous and the passive progressive. The main aim of the study is to investigate the two constructions with regard to their textual functions. The features studied relate to verb and clause type, as well as the measuring of topicality of patients, implicit agents, and – in the passive progressive only – overt agents.

    The autonomous tends to be used when the patient is topical, or central, in the text. The passive progressive, on the other hand, is mainly used with an overt agent that is considerably more topical than the patient. In agent-less passive progressives, patients and implicit agents are equally low in topicality. The autonomous occurs about equally often in main and subclauses, while the passive progressive is used primarily in subclauses, mainly non-finite ones. This difference is connected to the finding that 24% of the clauses containing the autonomous denote events as part of a sequentially ordered chain of events, compared to 4% of those containing the passive progressive.

    The most salient dialectal variation concerns the frequency of the passive progressive: 73% of the instances of the passive progressive in the database occur in the Munster texts, compared to 22% in Connacht 5% in Ulster. The autonomous, in contrast, is fairly evenly distributed across the dialects.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, SVC, Uppsala 2003-10-11 kl 10:15

    Swärdh, Anna

    Rape and Religion in English Renaissance Literature: A Topical Study of Four Texts by Shakespeare, Drayton, and Middleton

    Abstract

    This study argues that Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (1594) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594), Michael Drayton’s Matilda (1594) and Thomas Middleton’s The Ghost of Lucrece (1600) are, in ways hitherto not realised, topically concerned with the religious controversies in the wake of the English Reformation. This concern is discussed on a general level of interest related to religious attitudes and practices significant at the time of writing, and on a specific level pertaining to events surrounding the capture of the Jesuit poet Robert Southwell in 1592, which included the rape or seduction of a Catholic woman. Defining topical meaning from the complementary perspectives of intention and reception, I argue that, while all four texts are topical on the general level, Shakespeare’s and Drayton’s texts signal a topical concern also on the specific level. The study examines thematic, metaphorical and stylistic constituents of the texts’ topicality: oppositional groupings of characters reflecting contemporary “Catholics” and “Protestants”; the theme of rape in a religious context; the depiction of devotional practices such as tearful contrition and image-worship, including idolatrous and iconoclastic positions as well as anti- and pro-Catholic attitudes; references to contemporary persecutions; and influence from Counter-Reformation poetics via Southwell’s writing. While Titus Andronicus reflects the religious strife throughout the Tudor reign with allegorical persistency, I claim, the topicality of Lucrece is especially visible in the complex portrayal of Lucrece’s and Tarquin’s encounter in terms of incorrect devotional behaviour. It is suggested that Shakespeare’s texts criticise the religious politics of the contemporary rule. The study further argues that Drayton’s Matilda shows unreformed sympathies, and that Thomas Middleton’s The Ghost of Lucrece is satirically anti-Catholic.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapilgt centrum, Uppsala 2003-10-04 kl 13:15

    Sundh, Stellan

    Swedish School-leaving Students' Oral Proficiency in English: Grading of Production and Analysis of Performance

    Abstract

    This study deals with the testing and grading of Swedish school leaving students’ oral proficiency in English, and with certain aspects of these students’ linguistic competence. The analyses and results are based on material drawn from an assessment project carried out at Gothenburg University in 1993.

    The 29 students taking part in the project were interviewed three times by three different interviewers in tests comprising three tasks, similar in structure but different in content. The interviewers were of three categories: school teachers of English, university teachers of English and native speakers of English. The student production was graded on a five-point scale according to a set of rating criteria.

    The interviewers assigned generally positive but often differing grades to the student performance. The grades were influenced by the students’ ability to communicate and speak with flow, and by gaps in vocabulary and by occurrences of grammatical errors. The students’ use of discourse phenomena and compensatory strategies was also of importance to the grades assigned. Many students were considered to have acceptable intonation and rhythm, but nevertheless an evident Swedish accent. The linguistic features studied comprised the verbal group, vocabulary, discourse markers and pronunciation.

    Differences could be observed between the members of the interviewer categories regarding the grades they assigned to student production. The school teachers seem to have paid special attention to grammatical accuracy, and the native speakers appear to have had a notion of communicative competence where accuracy plays a less important role.

    Differences in the grades assigned could also be explained by the order in which the interviews were made, by some students’ hesitant delivery, by the positive or negative effect of various fillers in the students’ speech, and by the interviewing methods used by the interviewers in the tests.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Uppsala 2002-04-13 kl 13:15

    Smitterberg, Erik

    The Progressive in 19th-Century English: A Process of Integration

    Abstract

    The present work is a corpus-based study of the English progressive during the 19th century. The study is based on Conce, a one-million-word corpus covering the period 1800–1900 and comprising seven genres, both speech-related and non-speech-related. The main aim of the study is to account for the use and development of the progressive in 19th-century English. I use the term "integration" throughout the study with reference to the process by which the progressive became an increasingly important part of English grammar. Integration is taken to be a wide concept that includes, for instance, elements of grammaticalization theory, and diffusion across linguistic and extralinguistic parameters.

    In order to discuss the impact of extralinguistic features on the frequency of the progressive, I relate the number of progressives both to the number of words in texts and to the number of verb phrases. The results show that the frequency of the progressive varies significantly with all three extralinguistic features investigated: time, genre, and the sex of letter-writers. The progressive is more frequent, and, in that sense, more fully integrated, at the end of the 19th century than at the beginning; it is also more common in non-expository genres (e.g. Drama) than in expository genres (e.g. Science), and in women’s than in men’s letters. However, the increase in the frequency of the progressive is not paralleled by greater verb phrase complexity and diversity, as regards either the number of auxiliaries that the progressive verb phrases in the material incorporate or the type/token ratio for main verbs in progressive verb phrases.

    Comparing the frequency of the progressive with the results of two recent multi-feature/multi-dimensional analyses of CONCE, I show that the progressive is common, and thus integrated to a high degree, in texts that are characterized by involved production and situation-dependent reference, and that do not exhibit an abstract information focus. There is also a slight tendency for the progressive to be frequent in texts that display narrative concerns. The results provide empirical support for suggestions in previous research that the progressive is an oral and/or colloquial feature.

    Analyses of the linguistic context of the progressives suggest complex interrelationships between several linguistic and extralinguistic parameters. The extent to which the progressives in the material are modified by temporal adverbials decreases over the 19th century; at the same time, the proportion of the progressives that occur in main clauses increases. In addition, progressives in expository genres tend to occur in subordinate clauses, and in comparatively straightforward aspectual contexts, to a higher extent than progressives in non-expository genres. The results also imply that the diffusion of formal passive progressive marking was most rapid in genres where comparatively many progressives have non-agentive subjects.

    Three types of progressives assumed to express something beyond purely aspectual meaning are distinguished on the evidence of their linguistic context. The types analysed differ with respect to their functions and distribution. Nevertheless, provided that a parallel can be established between the phenomena of grammaticalization and integration, the overall increase in the frequency of these progressives lends empirical support to claims that the grammaticalization of a linguistic feature may involve an increase in the subjectivity expressed by the feature.

  • Ihresalen, Uppsala 2002-11-09 kl 10:15

    Strandberg, Åke

    The Orphic Voice: T. S. Eliot and the Mallarmean Quest for Meaning

    Abstract

    This thesis explores certain common denominators in the work of T. S. Eliot and the French symbolist poets. The point of departure is the poetic credo of Stéphane Mallarmé–his "Orphic explanation of the Earth," and my main argument is that the "Orphism" of Mallarmé can also be found in Eliot, and that the work of these poets in this respect reflects similar artistic ideals. This means, in more concrete terms, that Mallarmé’s use of language–his stretching of referential functions in order to create an esoteric "word-music"–finds an echo in the poetry of Eliot. By relating these poets’ work to an "Orphic" literary tradition, emanating from classical religious poetry, but also from the writings of Plato, Heraclitus and others, we can retrace an ancient conception of poetic creativity, dating from a time prior to what Mallarmé has called the "déviation homérique" of Western literature. Armed with an analytical model deriving from these ancient texts, this study emphasizes a certain shamanistic quality in Eliot’s work, in some ways reminiscent of the oral and semi-literate traditions of the Antique world. Using close reading as operative strategy and focusing on the mimetic/non-referential aspects of the language (sound values, metrical patterns, incantatory effects), the study suggests a more intuitive, "modal" approach to Eliot’s work, intended to present a view of him which is different from the notion of an erudite and predominantly cerebral author. It is against this background–in accordance with the poetic credo of Mallarmé–that the reader is invited to see the work of Eliot as emanating from the primaeval source of poetic expression from which, in Archaic times, the song of Orpheus sprang.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, SVC, Villavägen 4, Uppsala 2002-05-25 kl 13:15

    Molander Danielsson, Karin

    The Dynamic Detective: Special Interest and Seriality in Contemporary Detective Series

    Abstract

    This study argues that the relatively new conventions of detective fiction, special interest and seriality, are expanding and regenerating the genre. Special interest designates a political, ethnic, regional, professional or hobby-related agenda of a special interest group (consisting, usually, of writer, protagonist and readers) which makes up an integral part of the detective story. In recent decades detective series have become increasingly intraconnected. Seriality is the term used for dependence on intraserial references and a chronological, intradiegetic order within a series. The result of this regeneration of the detective genre includes a closer attention to characterization and a dynamic detective hero, and a shift in focus, from the case the detective investigates to the life he or she leads.

    The study is organized in three sections. The first, intended as a background to later developments, is devoted to the early conventions found in early classic and hardboiled detective fiction from Great Britain and the United States. The second part studies special interests in a number of American and British detective series from the latter part of the 20th century. Some of the writers represented are Tony Hillerman, Walter Mosley, BarbaraNeely, Amanda Cross, Joan Smith, Dick Francis and Jody Jaffe. This section makes use of Peter J. Rabinowitz’s concept of the authorial audience and related theory, and discusses among other things at what audience a text is aimed and whether a popular text, in building a community through special interest, risks becoming too exclusive.

    The third section returns to the same primary texts, this time exploring the various aspects of seriality such as serial subplots, the tensions between closure and open-endedness inherent in the series form, and the effects of seriality on established detective conventions. The detective series is compared to other serial forms, and is seen to be closely related to the roman-fleuve. The study, finally, discusses character and characterization as narrative elements which unite special interest and seriality and which have become steadily more foregrounded in contemporary detective series.

    Open access
  • Ihresalen, SVC, Uppsala 2002-04-06 kl 10:15

    Eriksson, Åke

    The Tragedy of Liberty: Civic Concern and Disillusionment in James Thomson's Tragic Dramas

    Abstract

    Early eighteenth-century serious drama often addresses the significance of liberty. This study focuses on the theme of civic and individual liberty in the little known tragedies of James Thomson, Sophonisba, Agamemnon and Tancred and Sigismunda, all of which problematise the condition of liberty under the influence of ideology.

    Situating the plays in the political, ideological and philosophical debates of the day, this study, like previous research in the field, recognises Thomson’s connection with the political opposition to the Whig ministry. However, the plays are examined from a historical perspective as a response to tenets that, although similar to those embraced by the political opposition, were actually part of government Whig and Tory ideologies, as well as of contemporary thought about the individual as a social being.

    The plays enact, it is argued, the problems involved in establishing and maintaining civic and individual liberty. What emerges is a set of binary relationships: private liberty is opposed to public duty; one country’s national liberty is set against another’s; a class-related stress on public social virtue is pitted against a more privately oriented social virtue. The tensions generated by these conflicting concepts of liberty influence the actions of the characters and the outcome of the tragedies. The tragic effect of Thomson’s plays arises, in large part, from an implicit suggestion that ideology is an insufficient means of upholding civic and individual liberty. The very tragedy of liberty springs from the realisation that civic liberty may in fact be impossible to sustain.

    By revealing an inherent ambivalence towards ideology, the analyses of the plays corroborate the idea that Thomson is on the fringe of the Opposition but cannot be said to be a mouthpiece for Bolingbroke’s group of patriots. Moreover, rather than extolling ideology, Thomson’s plays question it, which moderates the commonly held view of him as a didactic playwright. Finally, Thomson’s tragedies, it is shown, challenge what appeared to be an accepted ideological stance. The relative complexity that his plays offer in terms of querying current notions of freedom and liberty’s possible realisation makes his plays some of the most thought-provoking of their time.

  • Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Uppsala 2002-03-22 kl 10:15

    Leandoer, Katarina

    From Colonial Expression to Export Commodity: English-Canadian Literature in Canada and Sweden 1945–1999

    Abstract

    This dissertation follows the trajectory of English-Canadian literature in post-WWII Canada and Sweden. Taking the 1951 publication of the Massey Report as its starting-point, this study explores a succession of events in Canada after the Second World War, which contributed to creating a fruitful environment for the development of a national literature in English Canada. The new cultural infrastructure, consisting of governmental as well as non-governmental organizations, further encouraged literary production. In addition, and partly as a consequence of the enhanced cultural and literary self-confidence, attempts were made to export this literature to the surrounding world. Examining the composition of these endeavours, this thesis furthermore investigates the reception of English-Canadian literature in one of the countries targeted, Sweden.

    Concentrating on the critical reception of English-Canadian literature in Sweden, the study notes an unprecedented increase in the number of works translated and reviewed in the post-WWII period, especially beginning in the early 1980s: neither Swedish literature nor other foreign literatures in translation evince similar figures in the post-WWII period. Moreover, the dissertation examines how English-Canadian literature, previously virtually unknown to the Swedish public, has now gained considerable recognition. By favouring certain authors over others, Swedish publishers and critics have contributed to a canon formation of English-Canadian literature which deviates from the one in English Canada, and this study explores the impact of prestigious newspapers and reviewers on the emerging Swedish canon of English-Canadian literature. This thesis finally notes that the Swedish canon – initially differently formed – has recently grown similar to the English-Canadian one, and it suggests that, for example, the increasingly globalized world may have some bearing on this new development.

  • Ihresalen, SVC, Villavägen 4, Uppsala 2002-04-27 kl 13:15

    Oldireva Gustafsson, Larisa

    Preterite and Past Participle Forms in English 1680–1790: Standardisation Processes in Public and Private Writing

    Abstract

    The present study surveys variation and standardisation processes in the use of preterite and past participle forms in English texts included in A Corpus of Public and Private Writing (1680–1790), PPW. Quantitative and qualitative changes in the varied spelling of -ED forms of regular verbs (e.g. fixed, fix’d, fixd, fixt, and fix’t) and in the fluctuating use of preterite and past participle forms of irregular verbs (e.g. tha preterite variant forms drunk and writ and tha past participle variant forms drank and wrote) are the focus of this investigation. In this study, to show different facets of standardisation, the corpus-based evidence of usage is compared to the evidence of contemporaneous grammars, rhetoric books, and dictionaries.

    The data provided by the corpus reveal that the contrasts of usage in public and private registers of writing are crucial to our understanding of variation and standardisation processes. In public writing, a tendency towards standardisation is statistically manifest in the spelling of -ED forms of regular verbs but not substantiated in the use of forms of irregular verbs. By contrast, in private writing, the varied spelling of forms of regular verbs recedes moderately, whereas the recession of variation in the use of forms of irregular verbs is prominent. In sum, an intricate complex of statistical tendencies is revealed when the corpus-based evidence is related to the variables of time, register, text type, and grammatical category. These tendencies prove that standardisation is not a monolithic process but comprises diverse and statistically distinct standardisation processes.

    The study also shows that the corpus-based evidence of usage may be at variance with the evidence of precept as the register of writing was not a factor relevant to the grammatical codification of the time. This factor is nonetheless pivotal when we describe the diversity of standardisation processes.

  • Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt Centrum, Villavägen 4, Uppsala 2001-05-12 kl 10:15

    Nilsson, Tore

    Noun Phrases in British Travel Texts: A Corpus-Based Study

    Abstract

    This study is a corpus-based investigation of the structure and variation of noun phrases in three types of British texts on tourism and travel. Based on their publishing formats, the corpus texts are divided into three Text categories: tourist brochures, newspaper feature articles dealing with travel and tourism, and travel guides. The aim of the study is to find and account for patterns of variation in the noun phrase structure in the light of an interplay of various linguistic and extra-linguistic factors.

    The three types of publication investigated all deal with descriptions of tourist destinations. These texts are all basically descriptive in nature, and I argue that they are characterized by a more or less high degree of information density. One of the major purposes of the study is to account for how the problems of a relatively high degree of information density have been solved in the three Text categories. Two of the main hypotheses presented in the study are that the publication format itself has an influence on the complexity of the noun phrase, and that the varying communicative purposes of the texts examined influence the noun phrase structure.

    Apart from Text category, the variation in noun phrase structure is investigated for two other text dependent variables. I argue that the position of the noun phrase in the text has an influence on the noun phrase structure. This is seen in the portion of text in which the noun phrase occurs and the level of technicality of the subject matter. It is assumed that noun phrases which occur in the central text sections are structurally more complex than those found in more peripheral text portions. Furthermore, I expect the noun phrases whose subject matter is most closely related to tourism and travel to be more heavily modified than NPs with a more general content.

    The results of the study indicate that the structure of the noun phrases varies depending on Text category. It is shown that travel guides have the most complex noun phrases, followed by tourist brochures and travel articles. In travel articles, a large proportion of the noun phrases are simple, to a great extent depending on a very large share of noun phrases with pronominal heads. As regards postmodifier types, it is shown that travel guides favour phrasal postmodification whereas finite relative clauses are particularly frequent in travel articles. These findings can be accounted for in the light of differences in the communicative purposes. The tourist brochures investigated generally have noun phrase patterns of an intermediate complexity.

    Furthermore, the position of the noun phrase, both as regards placement and subject matter, is seen to have a clear influence on the complexity of the noun phrase. Noun phrases that are found in the portions of the texts dealing with the description of destinations and sights of interest are generally more heavily modified compared to those found in sections giving additional practical information. Likewise, the noun phrases whose subject matter is most closely related to the description of sights of interest typically have complex types of modification, especially in the form of clausal postmodifiers. Noun phrases whose subject matter refers to more technical aspects tend to be modified by means of premodifiers and/or more compact phrasal postmodifiers.

    It is also found that the incidence of noun phrases functioning as independent clauses is particularly high in the portions of text detailing additional practical information. The very high degree of information density in these sections is effectively handled by means of compact noun phrases postmodified by chains of nominal and prepositional modifiers.