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Book: On Verbal Art

Chapter: Simone de Beauvoir's Construal of Language and Literature in Mémoires d'une Jeune Fille Rangée (1958): A Hasanian Perspective

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.29810


This chapter retraces Simone de Beauvoir’s experience with language and literature from childhood to adulthood as construed in the first volume of her memoirs “Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée” (1958). Using Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), it explores transitivity patterns in passages where Beauvoir talks about her experience of/with literature. It focuses in particular on experiential roles assigned both to literature and to Beauvoir as she interacts with literature. It also explores the processes in which literature and Beauvoir are involved. The aim is to show that Beauvoir’s view of literature as an activity and a tool for change in the world is reflected in her choice of linguistic patterns. In addition, the analysis reveals the growth of Beauvoir from a child with a passion for books to a writer who would become one of the most influential of the 20th century. Hasan’s (1985) model for the analysis of verbal art serves as point of departure to our analysis and gives us the means to discuss how the Theme of language as action is symbolically articulated by foregrounded experiential patterns in Beauvoir’s memoires.

Chapter Contributors

  • Alice Caffarel-Cayron ( - acaffarel-cayron7877) 'University of Sydney'