Macquarie University
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Style, truth and imagination in the short stories of Peter Carey: a social-semiotic stylistic approach

posted on 2022-03-29, 01:12 authored by Martin Tilney
This thesis is an investigation into the style of one of Australia's greatest contemporary literary exports: Peter Carey. Carey is an acclaimed writer of fiction and is best known as an award-winning novelist, but before his first novel was published in the 1970s, he achieved international recognition as a writer of short stories. The stories were receive dwell by critics, but were largely overshadowed by his subsequent novels. Although a considerable amount of critical attention has been paid to his stories over the years, there still remains much to say about their style and meaning: namely the ways in which their imaginative, anti-realist devices articulate fictional truth. Taking as my point of departure the insights and opinions of traditional literary critics, I argue that Carey's short stories, as seen through the lens of social-semiotic stylistics, articulate a special form of truth which provokes the reader to imagine new possibilities. This questioning of reality is shown to be a central preoccupation in his stories by using a variety of linguistic methods to make explicit their verbal texture.


Table of Contents

List of figures -- List of tables - Abstract -- Statement of originality -- Acknowledgements -- SFL conventions for text analysis -- Typographical conventions -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Social-semiotic stylistics -- 3. Foregrounding and defamiliarization in 'Conversations with unicorns -- 4. Reality and perception in 'Do you love me? -- 5. Cohesive harmony and Theme in 'The last days of a famous mime' -- 6. Delayed understanding in 'American dreams' -- 7. Grammar and semantics in 'She wakes' -- 8. Conclusion: Linking style, truth and imagination -- References


Bibliography: pages 229-239 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Science , Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Annabelle Lukin


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1 online resource ( 239 pages)

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