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Book: Explorations in Stylistics

Chapter: Marked Theme and its interpretation in A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.21966


Sections 4.1.2–4.1.5 of this chapter defines the thematic management phenomena under consideration and the technical terms used. Section 4.2 gives details of the method of analysis and discusses theoretical problems arising from it, such as the definition of mood and the ambiguity of metafunction. In section 4.3 the author moves on to the results and discussion: in 4.3.1 the author considers the method of development, the semantic content of marked Themes, and the relationship between this and literary critical comments on the importance of time, place and exile to literary theme; 4.3.2 and 4.3.3 proceed to an analysis of the use of marked Theme and multiply-marked Theme in the ten individual poems where they are most frequent, showing how their use relates to the schemes of classical rhetoric, and how they might affect reader response. In 4.3.4 the author considers the fluctuating frequency of marked Theme throughout the sequence, and find that its use correlates with degrees of dramatisation or dialogism. Subsection 4.3.5 places the analysis in the context of earlier studies which relate thematic management and method of development to different genres.

Chapter Contributors

  • Andrew Goatly ( - book-auth-316) 'Lingnan University'