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Verbal Art and Systemic Functional Linguistics

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This book provides an overview of the dialectic of theory and practice through which SFL positions itself as an appliable linguistics with reference to the theory of Verbal Art. A concise history of the linguistic study of literature tout court is sketched, as well as the roots of specifically SFL approaches to it. A detailed theoretical description is given of the emergence of systemic functional stylistics and, in particular, of the overall architecture of Systemic Socio-Semantic Stylistics (SSS), the central descriptive-analytical model created by Ruqaiya Hasan. Subsequently, the correspondences between Hasan’s framework and what Jakobson theorized as the empirical linguistic evidence of his ‘poetic function’, grammatical parallelism and with what he calls ‘pervasive parallelism’, are delineated and illustrated via the analysis of one poem by D.H. Lawrence, ‘Bei Hennef’ (1913). Further, the teaching of the language in literature with the tools of SFL/SSS is addressed, and a case study of the experience of guiding students towards this ‘special’ register awareness in an undergraduate EFL curriculum in Bologna, Italy is offered.

Aiming to provide as wide-ranging a view of systemic functional stylistics studies as possible, the volume also presents a synopsis of stylistics research wedded to multimodal/multisemiotic, corpus and translation approaches, broaching certain of the many theoretical issues intrinsically entailed. With special attention to Hasan’s stylistic legacy, in closing the author speaks to the future directions systemic functional stylistic studies might take.

Published: Oct 1, 2021