Place and communicative personae

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Roger D. Sell’s communicative literary theory, developed from literary pragmatics, contains in its notion of author and reader personae a way of refining our understanding of the relationship between real place and literary activity. A specific place in the Home Counties of England became newly charged with meaning in the 1940s for E. M. Forster. After the war he became involved in a public debate over it, but the views he expressed there were subtly different from those of near-contemporaneous private writings. Campaigners have since the 1960s frequently used Forster for the protection of the area, although his own attitude to change there was ambivalent. Forster offers multiple personae of place to very different readerships in his varied writing on Stevenage.


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