The Resource Authority and speech : language, society, and self in the American novel, Louise K. Barnett

Authority and speech : language, society, and self in the American novel, Louise K. Barnett

Label
Authority and speech : language, society, and self in the American novel
Title
Authority and speech
Title remainder
language, society, and self in the American novel
Statement of responsibility
Louise K. Barnett
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
This book examines speech in the American novel as an arena of struggle between individual expression and social authority. Discussing the full range of mainstream American novels, Louise K. Barnett shows how the confident verbalism of the mid-nineteenth-century novel gives way to an increasing skepticism about language and its capacity to articulate experience and communicate. Her study is grounded in two related theoretical bases: speech-act theory, which seeks to assess the authority of utterances by determining their relationship to constitutive rules, and sociolinguistics, which approaches the same issue of authority from the perspective of social requirements. Proceeding chronologically, the author begins with the major antebellum romantic writers - Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe - whose characters can express themselves as individuals and make successful use of "public language," that is, the type of language that functions prescriptively to maintain the values and attitudes of society at large. According to Barnett, the works of Herman Melville are transitional in terms of speech because they move from the verbal confidence of his early writings to various forms of linguistic withdrawal in his late novels: the corruption of the word in The Confidence-Man, the tragic failure of communication in Billy Budd. Melville's striking modernity, however, was neither fully realized nor assimilated by other writers of his time. Rather, the key figure in confronting the problematic issues of speech and authority was Mark Twain, whose Huckleberry Finn (1884) offered a powerful critique of a falsifying public language that contaminated all discourses. Twain's novel also set the stage for a verbal skepticism that came to characterize many important modern texts, including The Ambassadors, The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, The Hamlet and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Instead of serving as the cooperative vehicle of speakers dealing with ethical and epistemological issues, Barnett shows, language itself became a problem - a barrier to, rather than a means of, communication and self-expression. The devolution of speech in the modern novel continues in the postmodern novel as part of a new set of conventions reflecting a change of power structure within the text - one that further empowers the author's voice while attenuating the voices of characters. Barnett contends that such postmodern texts as The Crying of Lot 49, Snow White, and Breakfast of Champions reduce characters' speech to a level of insignificance by enveloping their voices in an all-encompassing authorial discourse and by restricting their utterances to cliches. Although it still clearly belongs to the genre of the novel, Barnett concludes, the postmodern novel also suggests a generic endpoint
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Barnett, Louise K
Index
index present
LC call number
PS374.S735
LC item number
B36 1993
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • American fiction
  • Speech in literature
  • English language
  • Literature and society
  • Language and culture
  • Authority in literature
  • Self in literature
  • Roman américain
  • Parole dans la littérature
  • Anglais (Langue)
  • Littérature et société
  • Langage et culture
  • Autorité dans la littérature
  • Moi (Psychologie) dans la littérature
  • Fictie
  • Spreektaal
  • Gezag
  • American fiction
  • Authority in literature
  • English language
  • Language and culture
  • Literature and society
  • Self in literature
  • Speech in literature
  • United States
Label
Authority and speech : language, society, and self in the American novel, Louise K. Barnett
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [271]-285) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
  • Prologue
  • Urbanity and expatriation, part 1: James and Wharton
  • Urbanity and expatriation, part 2: Fitzgerald and Hemingway
  • Rural speech communities: Faulkner and Hurston
  • Nathanael West and the urban apocalypse of the word
  • Postmodern speech: the universe of disclosure as a closed system
  • Part One.
  • From confidence to skepticism in the nineteenth-century novel
  • Prologue
  • Verbal confidence
  • "Truth is voiceless": speech and silence in Melville's later fiction
  • Verbal skepticism in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Part Two.
  • The devolution of speech in the twentieth-century novel
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
xiv, 293 pages
Isbn
9780820315201
Lccn
92031434
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
n
System control number
  • (OCoLC)26503557
  • (OCoLC)ocm26503557
Label
Authority and speech : language, society, and self in the American novel, Louise K. Barnett
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [271]-285) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
  • Prologue
  • Urbanity and expatriation, part 1: James and Wharton
  • Urbanity and expatriation, part 2: Fitzgerald and Hemingway
  • Rural speech communities: Faulkner and Hurston
  • Nathanael West and the urban apocalypse of the word
  • Postmodern speech: the universe of disclosure as a closed system
  • Part One.
  • From confidence to skepticism in the nineteenth-century novel
  • Prologue
  • Verbal confidence
  • "Truth is voiceless": speech and silence in Melville's later fiction
  • Verbal skepticism in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Part Two.
  • The devolution of speech in the twentieth-century novel
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
xiv, 293 pages
Isbn
9780820315201
Lccn
92031434
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
n
System control number
  • (OCoLC)26503557
  • (OCoLC)ocm26503557

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