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Book: Verbal Art and Systemic Functional Linguistics

Chapter: Systemic Functional Stylistics and...

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.30889


Wanting to provide as wide-ranging a view of systemic functional stylistics studies as possible, chapter 5 – entitled ‘Systemic functional stylistics and…’ – offers a synopsis of stylistics research wedded to multimodal/multisemiotic, corpus and translation approaches, also broaching certain of the many theoretical issues intrinsically implicated. Its nature is thus transdisciplinary. Nevertheless, fixed requirements for signalling studies were set up: 1) that they had to be at least clearly SFL-influenced and, 2) that they attended to literature as their object of study. The confines of ‘literature’, however, were necessarily widened to comprise research into any medium being exploited in the telling of fictive stories whose ways of meaning can be seen to “relate to human social existence – its dilemmas and its delights”, just as Hasan speaks of the mission of verbal art (Equinox online gloss to Hasan (to appear)). It emerges, however, that this Hasanian thematic aspect is explicitly addressed by these studies only at times. Indeed, the question of the ‘art’ of the text, of its registerial specialness, receives decidedly less manifest attention than it might do. In these cases, the ‘and’ constituent inclines to prominence and the artistic nature of the text tends to get lost sight of. Nonetheless, all of the stimulating research briefly described can be seen to systematically attend to contextualized meaning-making strategies in the texts examined. It also enriches our knowledge of work going on in (again mainly Hallidayan) systemic functional stylistics, as well as the theoretical issues involved, which is its essential aim.

Chapter Contributors

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