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The narrative art of modernist fiction: A corpus stylistic and cognitive narratological approach

Luo, Jian (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis explores modernist narrative art embodied in modernist style of constructing narrative space. Within Chatman’s conceptual framework, narrative space can be divided into story-space (settings and characters) and discourse-space (focus of spatial attention). In a corpus-stylistic approach, the structuration of the story-space in The Mill on the Floss, The Good Soldier and To the Lighthouse is examined. The findings show that modernist tendency to deemphasise particularity of place shapes a narrative design of spatial detachment. In consequence, the establishment of settings in early modernist fiction is generally sketchy, but sometimes spatially informative. This is a mixed character. By contrast, settings in classic modernist fiction are symbolic of viewers’ psychological states, a clear manifestation of a modernist interest in characters’ interiority. To further trace the style change from early modernism to high modernism, a cross-disciplinary model for character analysis and a cross-axial model for the examination of discourse-space have been constructed. They help detect some similarities and dissimilarities between early and classic modernist styles of spatialisation. As a whole, this thesis has two features. First, it applies corpus stylistic methods to inform cognitive narratological interpretation. Second, it resorts to visualisation as an attempt at a multi-modal study of narrative space.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Toolan, Michael
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English
Subjects:PN0080 Criticism
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2979
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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