Communicating the ineffable. A pragmatic account of literariness
Longhitano Piazza, Sabina
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The notion of literature or poetry is based on the intuition that there is a qualitative difference between “literary” and other kinds of discourses. Only recently have philosophers of language and pragmaticists begun to acknowledge this qualitative difference. Within the ostensive-inferential framework of Relevance Theory, I will characterize expressive discourse (in the sense of intuitively “poetic”, literary”, “creative”) as based on a recognizable informative intention that triggers a specific process of interpretation in which the recovery of the proposition expressed is not sufficiently relevant in and of itself, and non propositional cognitive effects are derived through (i) creative imagination (ii) appreciation of the shape of the text as a special kind of “object”: namely, a verbal ostensive artifact: as it is quite evident that formal and stylistic aspects such as alliteration, rhyme and hyperbaton do not affect propositional meaning, and that they are produced intentionally, they must have a cognitive function; and (iii) integrating private, idiosyncratic information in the context of interpretation. The point of interpreting expressive discourse is not (or not only) to derive a representation that can be believed or rejected and/ or embedded into other informative intentions: the cognitive effects we derive from creative discourse are different in kind. I will illustrate my point by presenting a number of examples, to show how stylistic analysis can interact with pragmatics in explaining the cognitive effects we derive from creative discourse interpretation.
Palabras clave: Pragmatics; Relevance theory; literary interpretation; imagination; style; expressive discourse;
Longhitano, Sabina, “Communicating the ineffable. A pragmatic account of literariness”. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 158 (2014), 187–193.
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
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