Literary Linguistics
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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Metaphors and similes characterise Elizabeth Bowen’s writing. Despite frequent claims that this contributes to the lexical, grammatical and syntactic irregularities of her style and hence makes her writing difficult to understand, I show that her metaphors, similes and literal descriptions in a selected passage from The Last September function within conventional linguistic structures. While my analysis of metaphors and similes is conducted with reference to Bakhtin’s essay “Discourse in the Novel”, I use Martin and Rose’s model of Discourse Analysis (2007) and Steen’s study of metaphor in literature (1999) as practical tools for my analysis of the text. I discuss how ‘dialogic’ linguistic and pragmatic processes (in a Bakhtinian sense) influence the emergence of metaphorical meaning in Bowen’s novel and examine how the linguistic structures governing literal and metaphorical elements of description give rise to cognitive patterns which in turn serve to establish the novel’s theme by connecting the protagonist with her fictional setting in a meaningful way.


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