Ann Banfield – professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley – is best known for her groundbreaking contributions to narrative theory. Working within the paradigm of generative linguistics, she argued that the language of fiction is characterized by two «unspeakable sentences», i.e., sentences that do not properly occur in the spoken language: the sentence of «pure narration» and the sentence of «represented speech and thought» (
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More recently, Banfield offered a major reconsideration of the novels of Virginia Woolf and modernism in light of the philosophy of knowledge developed by G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, and appropriated by Roger Fry in his critical analyses of impressionism and post-impressionism.
The essays gathered here pay tribute to Banfield by addressing those disciplines and topics most closely related to her work, including: narrative theory and pragmatics, the philosophy of language and knowledge, generative syntax, meter and phonology, and modernism.