Edited By Simone Bonnafous and Malika Temmar
VII. Discourse analysis and the study of literature - Dominique MAINGUENEAU 113
Chapter VII Discourse analysis and the study of literature1 Dominique MAINGUENEAU The development since the 1990s of “literary discourse analysis” im- plies a profound transformation in the very conditions under which literature can be studied. It would therefore be reductionist to see in this branch of discourse analysis problems a “means of elucidation” amongst others; rather, it is about progressively putting in place a method of understanding the literary fact (and not merely literary works) which does not allow itself to be enclosed within traditional divisions and disciplines. Approaches in terms of literary discourse analysis are based on the notion of discourse. This notion is very difficult to deal with, however. On the one hand, it possesses certain linguistic values, but on the other it is liable to be used without very much control, as a key word for a certain conception of language. For example, when speak- ing of literary discourse, a certain number of major ideas are brought together, which alter our approach to literature. We might indicate a few of these here: firstly, discourse is a form of action, radically contextualised, governed by norms and dominated by an inter- discourse; texts are the traces of language activities and discourse genres, which are inseparable from non-verbal activities. The idea that words are an activity might seem banal, but it modifies the tacit models governing the approach to texts which have prevailed for centuries: literary discourse is one particular activity, 1 These few pages are extremely allusive. For a...
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