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Book: Verbal Art and Systemic Functional Linguistics

Chapter: Halliday and Hasan: The Development of Their Language in Literature Theories and Practices

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.30885


Chapter 2 traces the intersection of Halliday and Hasan’s evolving thoughts on what she called the the language in literature. A key aim of the chapter is to show how, thanks to both these scholars, verbal art has come to occupy a highly dignified place within appliable SFL theory. Specifically dealt with are their reflections on the ‘special’ nature of literature, linked to the intricacy of the notion of context that this text-type entails, and their views on the notion of deviation, markedly distinct from those of mainstream scholars, but also in part from those of their shared inspiration, Mukařovský. A lengthy section is dedicated to the presentation, scrutiny, and evaluation of Hasan’s ‘double-articulation’ model for the analysis of verbal art (1985[1989]): the framework for what she says she practices: Systemic Socio-Semantic Stylistics (henceforth SSS).3 This is composed of a semiotic system of language and a separate, higher order, semiotic system of verbal art, where foregrounded results of analysis at the lower level may be seen to articulate the text’s deepest meanings, or theme. The final sections are then given over, firstly to a select review of the work of ‘Hallidayan’ (also including a small number of ‘Hasanian’) stylisticians, and then to subjective musings on what I call ‘a politics of exclusion’, with reference to the apparent ostracism of Hasan’s stylistic work on the part of mainstream stylistics, but not only. In fact, even certain SFL stylisticians might be gently chided for giving Hasan’s work short shrift. Select evidence of this neglect and thoughts on the reasons for it are also put forward.

Chapter Contributors

  • Donna R Miller ( - dmiller) 'University of Bologna'