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Journal of Literary Semantics

An International Review

Founded by Eaton, Trevor

Ed. by Toolan, Michael

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.38

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.122
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.575

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Volume 41, Issue 2


Experiencing meanings in Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Andrew Caink,
Published Online: 2012-09-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2012-0008


This article examines different types of form in Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) and the implied meanings they promote. The pragmatic approach adopted gives prominence to the sequential experience of reading and the textual proximity of evidence in strengthening otherwise weak implicatures. Implicatures related to three aspects of form are examined: (i) the anachronic telling, in which the structuralist account (e.g. Genette 1980) is argued to be inadequate from a reader's pragmatic perspective, (ii) lexical repetition and para-repetition (Toolan 2009), and (iii) the reader's linguistic knowledge of syntactic inversion. The salience of features in these different kinds of form may support weak implicatures regarding characters' narrative roles, relative prominence of key narrative moments, the foregrounding of narration and narrator's intention, as well as supporting inferences about the type of narrative that the novel tends towards in terms characterised by Todorov (1977).

About the article

Published Online: 2012-09-06

Published in Print: 2012-09-13

Citation Information: , Volume 41, Issue 2, Pages 121–138, ISSN (Online) 1613-3838, ISSN (Print) 0341-7638, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2012-0008.

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