Book: Verbal Art: A Social Semiotic Perspective
Chapter: Wilfred Owen's Anthem for the Doomed Youth
Language, as Whorf said, the the best show man puts on. And perhaps the most amazing performance in this repertory is verbal art, which thanks to the power of ordinary language, peoples the world with beings who although they do not exist hold a many-angled mirror to human life. They live, creating histories which possess deeper reality than our own real existence in society: through these histories is distilled human experience, made potent as an extended metaphor for the essential human condition. The deepest level of meaning, the themes in verbal art, relate to human social existence - its dilemmas and its delights, thus bearing witness to its socio-semiotic origins. All of this is achieved through a patterning of the patterns of language. Through the linguistic analysis of the various genres of literature, the chapters of this volume offer a social semiotic theory for engaging meaningfully with literature. The book should interest lovers and teachers of literature.