Animal characters and characterisation in science fiction: A scientific contextualist stylistic approach

Pearce, Kate (2020). Animal characters and characterisation in science fiction: A scientific contextualist stylistic approach. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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From mechanomorphic ants to slovenly rats and raining fish-lizards, this thesis explores connections between the scientific contexts of behaviourism, entropy and Gaia theory and sf’s animal characters. I position this research within the contextualist school of stylistics, arguing that such an approach is necessary not only because of sf’s constitutive relationship with science (Parrinder 1979, Landon 2014), but also because the genre’s privileging of ideas over character development means flat characters predominate in sf (Amis 1960, Gunn 2002). To conduct my analyses, I employ Culpeper’s (2001) framework, the most comprehensive characterisation framework, and amend its categories for use with animal characters. This framework is combined with a variety of corpus linguistic methods which have been at the forefront of stylistic explorations of literary character (Archer & McIntyre 2010, Bednarek 2011, Mahlberg 2012, Balossi 2014). My focus on scientific contexts and animal characters addresses large gaps in stylistics research. It is the first attempt within stylistics to consider the influence of scientific contexts on characterisation, the first to engage exclusively with animal characters, and the first to rework a characterisation framework for use with animal characters. In addition, this research attempts to connect stylistics with the contemporary field of animal studies research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama, American & Canadian Studies
Funders: Other
Other Funders: College of Arts and Law Doctoral Scholarship
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism


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