Speech Acts and Literary Theory: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Speech Acts and Literary Theory

1st Edition

By Sandy Petrey


176 pages

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This book, first published in 1990, combines an introduction to speech-act theory as developed by J. L. Austin with a survey of critical essays that have adapted Austin's thought for literary analysis. Speech-act theory emphasizes the social reality created when speakers agree that their language is performative - Austin's term for utterances like: "we hereby declare" or "I promise" that produce rather than describe what they name. In contrast to formal linguistics, speech-act theory insists on language's active prominence in the organization of collective life. The first section of the text concentrates on Austin's determination to situate language in society by demonstrating the social conventions manifest in language. The second and third parts of the book discuss literary critics' responses to speech-act theory's socialisation of language, which have both opened new understandings of textuality in general and stimulated new interpretations of individual works. This book will be of interest to students of linguistics and literary theory.

Table of Contents

Part I: Beginnings; 1. Saying versus Doing 2. Saying Equals Doing 3. Saying, Doing, and Writing; Part II: Applications; 4. Austin and Searle Together and Apart 5. Textual Illocution 6. Performing the Performative 7. The Prose of the World; Part III: Challenges; 8. Locution, Illocution, and Deconstruction 9. Performativities; Bibliography; Index

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Literary Theory

This set reissues 27 books on literary theory originally published between 1965 and 1992. Top academics in the field examine different aspects of literary theory, including structuralism, post-structuralism, stylistics and semiotics, and approach these theories in a variety of ways. This set will be of particular interest to students of literature and literary theory.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory