Before quotation marks became widespread
convention, English texts were organized more
fluidly, employing varying lexical and textual
strategies for marking represented discourse.
When we add our present-day quotation marks to
editions of Middle English texts, we also
overlay our modern interpretation of speech
representation, with its expectations of
faithful reporting and carefully delineated
voices. In doing so, we mask the
less-determined nature of early speech marking,
and obscure the ways that its plasticity
functions as a narrative and stylistic tool.
This book provides the first full study of
speech representation in pre-modern English.
Studying the pragmatic and discourse strategies
of English texts from 1350–1600 is essential to
reading Middle English works and to
understanding the cultural assumptions implicit
in the production of early written texts.
Introduction; 1. Methods of marking speech; 2.
Interpreting reported speech: defamation
depositions, sermons, chronicles; 3. Reported
speech in literary texts: stylistic
implications; Conclusion: pragmatic
palimpsests; Appendices; Works cited;
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Ling & Literature
Subject Language(s): English (eng)
English, Middle (enm)
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