Chapter 5. ‘<i>Loquor, ergo sum’</i>
My title echoes Lyons (1982), who was himself much indebted to the work of Benveniste (1966). I shall first critique Benveniste’s ideas about the first person pronoun and <i>le sujet parlant. </i>For my purposes here I want to argue for the primacy of the rhetorical situation of discourse, rather than the canonical, which figures prominently in poetry and fantasy; and so highlight <I> with non-human reference (prosopopoeia) and <you> with non-human reference (apostrophe). I shall argue that this anthropomorphic <I> is prevalent in many kinds of non-literary discourse today, centred on marketing and advertising: what I term the “Alice in Wonderland” principle, following the signs <i>Drink me</i> and <i>Eat me</i> found down Lewis Carroll’s rabbit-hole. A detailed linguistic analysis of many examples of such signs and notices will lead to a critique of notions of subjectivity and empathy, and of focalisation and “person-ality”. It will be argued in the process that there are interesting implications for cultural and media studies, anthropology, eco-criticism and cognitive poetics.