‘Where am I, lurking in what place of vantage?’

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On the basis of a case study of <i>The Book of Evidence</i> and <i>The Sea</i>, this chapter looks at the linguistic means through which at different levels distance is created in the fiction of John Banville. In addition to more or less &#8216;local&#8217; but frequent instances where the first-person narrator&#8217;s own discourse is metatextually commented on, or another&#8217;s discourse is evoked from his perspective, distancing effects are to be found at the broader levels of the situation of discourse, as in the case of the fictive address of judge and jury in <i>The Book of Evidence</i>, and of the narrator&#8217;s identity and perspective, as in <i>The Sea</i>, where the narrator zooms out to take an outside perspective on his own vantage point.


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