of Advanced Composition
13/2, 1993, 423-448.
Closing the gap between linguistics and literary
Discourse analysis and literary theory
Robert de Beaugrande
is a commonplace among faculties and departments of language that linguistics
and literary studies are distinctive domains, and that their interaction tends
to be limited. But it would be unjustified to attribute this divergence to mere
feelings of mutual rivalry, insecurity, or mistrust. Instead, the two domains
have differed so fundamentally in their traditional conceptions and directions
that immediate interaction has been difficult on purely logistic grounds. I
shall undertake to indicate first why this was so and then why recent
fundamental changes in both domains give reason to believe that conditions are
now much more auspicious for concerted interaction.
relation or tension between the ‘paradigms’ whereby ‘business as usual’
was for a long time conducted in linguistics and literary studies was unlikely
to be assessed as long as the paradigms remained implicit and worked fairly
smoothly. Both fields typically proceeded on the assumption that they could get
on with their business and not to disclose and legitimise what they were up to.
This tactic presupposes that the participants share a fairly firm and
constricted consensus about what should be done and how to go about it. Such a
consensus may be productive for a time, but, if the object of inquiry is as
complex and diverse as either language or literature, sooner or later grows
uncomfortable and leads to stagnation.
addition, the ‘participants’ to be considered here include not just the
professionals, the linguists and literary scholars, but also the ‘clients’
who turn to us for expertise to apply to the learning and teaching of language
or literature. Since the onset of the 1960s, we have witnessed such a profound
transformation of our ‘clientele’ that we have been compelled to lay aside
our reassuring certainties and scan new horizons. In this frame of mind, we soon
began to see that when our underlying ‘paradigms’ were explicitly displayed,
they did not fit the needs of the new clientele nearly as well as we would like
to think. This changed situation is the common impetus for recent trends, even
when the latter seem quite diverse or oriented toward more abstruse or academic
brief will accordingly be that a reassessment of the prospects for interaction
is needed not merely because the two fields themselves have made impressive
progress in theory and research, but also because we urgently need a framework
to design integrated language programs for a rapidly evolving ambience. To a
certain degree, which I shall attempt to clarify, the convergence has not been
deliberate or co-ordinated. But I feel it both can and should be in the coming
years, when the challenges on both fronts are virtually certain to become more
complex and diversified.
appreciate why this was so, it might be helpful to contemplate a schematic set
of contrasts such as that presented in Table 1.
most heuristics, this Table simplifies issues and irons out variety. Nor are
there precise criteria for determining what time span these ‘traditions’
cover, but a very rough approximation might be 1880-1970.
Whereas the object of
linguistics was the language
(Saussure’s ‘langue’) as an abstract system,
the object of literary studies was the literary
text as a concrete artefact.
Admittedly, this explicit contrast entails implicit contacts: the language can
only be inferred from a corpus of texts, among which literary ones are often
influential, while the literary text must be an instantiation of its language.
But these contacts remained largely submerged or taken for granted, and, as we
shall see, they can be quite problematic.
For the linguist, material was to be derived from data, which included all the samples of the language that could expediently be assembled and collated by means
of fieldwork and later, for the
generativists (whose stance toward fieldwork remained uneasy), by means of introspection.
For either source, all the data --
aside from special cases (e.g. modernist poetry) or errors in transcription --
were held to belong equally to the language. For the literary scholar, material
came from the ‘canon’ of literary
texts established mainly by tradition,
witness the long-standing practice of anthologising meritorious (‘great’)
works for public edification. The canon periodically underwent quiet revisions
as some author or work was admitted or excluded, but the legitimacy of having a
canon and the prerogative of literary studies to establish and cultivate it was
not seriously challenged.
To stress its shift away from historical ‘philology’, modern
linguistics programmatically adopted a synchronic
approach by viewing the language as a system in its current state rather than in
its evolution. Linguists like Saussure conceded that this ‘static’ construct
was a fiction, since language is always changing; but they saw no other way to
design theories and models that fit their sparse notion of ‘system’.
Literary studies, in contrast, remained resolutely historical,
witness such time-honoured conventions as organising the program or personnel of
literature departments by century or period and treating contemporary literature
at best marginally alongside the canon of ‘classics’ of the past.
Linguistics worked with a construct of the ideal speaker who ‘knows’ the language and can produce an
unlimited set of utterances (or ‘sentences’). The term ‘ideal’ was made
fashionable by the generative paradigm (e.g. Chomsky), but the ‘speaker’
envisioned at least since Saussure had unmistakably been an idealisation.
Literary studies, in contrast, was concerned with the real
author as a biographical and historical figure, and intense effort was
expended on documentation, e.g. through official records, personal letters and
diaries, contemporary comments, dates and places of publication, and so on.
At the other end of the transaction, linguistics assumed an ideal
hearer (often just called ‘hearer’) who possesses essentially the same
knowledge as the ideal speaker and can understand the same set of utterances.
When intuition came into vogue, the linguist was entitled to stand in for both
speaker and hearer, inventing sample sentences and rendering interpretations --
in retrospect, a step backwards. In literary studies, however, we notice from
the beginning a significant vacancy: the role of the reader
was usually not addressed as an issue but tacitly occupied by the scholar, whether an academic or a professional critic, who
purported, by virtue of status, to be the proper (qualified, discerning, etc.)
reader for the literary work. Intriguingly, the traditional move was to present
one’s own reading in the name of the real
author, e.g. of what Shakespeare or Milton ‘was saying’, ‘meant’,
‘intended’, etc., and thus to merge author
with authority, if not indeed with an authoritarian
posture. It thus seemed unnecessary and distractive to treat one’s own reading
as just one instance among many others, or as a statement of individual or
Whereas linguistics was concerned with the entire community of speakers, which the generative paradigm expressly
declared to be ‘homogeneous’, the widest group addressed in literary studies
was usually the school or movement
to which an identifiable set of real authors could be assigned by conspicuous
stylistic or thematic attributes, e.g. ‘Barock’ in Germany and
‘Gongorrismo’ in Spain. The name was often a label attributed in hindsight
by the scholars rather than designation devised by the authors themselves. But
either way, a name once bestowed tended to become an integral category of
literary studies, especially for historical and pedagogical purposes.
As signalled by Saussure’s landmark title Cours de linguistique générale, linguistics sought to formulate
the most general principles, for which
the ‘laws’ of the ‘sound shifts’ formulated by philology had provided
the most shining examples. A premium was placed on generalisations applying to
an entire language, or, better still, to all languages (‘universals’). In
literary studies, much attention was accorded to the special
or even unique quality of the literary
work, and the high regard for detail could be seen in the common exercise or
test for students of memorising or identifying individual poems or passages from
plays, novels, etc.
Linguistics addressed the rules of
language encoding the patterns, usually formal, which apply to all or most
instances, e.g. the placement of ‘article’ before ‘noun’ in English.
Literary studies addressed the conventions
of genre, some of them based on form (e.g. for the ‘sestina’) and some
based on theme or topic (e.g. ‘revenge tragedy’). Certain trends, such as
Russian Formalism and American New Criticism, have sought to bridge this
contrast by detailed formal analysis of certain genres, but the results have
remained disputatious, largely because of the problematic implication that
‘literariness’ or ‘poeticity’ is something ‘in the language’ of the
text (cf. third section).
To the degree that it was influenced by linguistics, the study of style
centred on the notion of choice, i.e.
the selection of certain options offered by the overall language system. In the
literary domain, the notion of style as
ornamentation persisted, i.e., an aesthetically pleasing addition of
‘schemes’ and ‘tropes’ which students should be taught to name and
identify with erudite terms like ‘synecdoche’. The ‘content’ or the
‘message’ of the work was typically held to exist apart from this
In programmatic opposition
to traditional grammars, linguistics resolved to be non-evaluative, recoding and describing language irrespective of
prescriptive and proscriptive attitudes about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or
‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’. Literary studies has remained evaluative,
despite occasional declarations that values tend to obscure or distort; after
all, the mere choice of a text for analysis and interpretation already
implicates a value judgement.
The goal of linguistics was
the description of a whole language as a total system, a characterisation of its
phonological, morphological, and grammatical regularities in a compact and
perspicuous format. The generativist arguments ranking ‘explanation’ over
‘description’, though an intensely polemical issue for a time, did little to
change this goal, witness the specialised definition of ‘generating a
sentence’ as ‘assigning to it a structural description’. What was offered up as ‘explanation’ usually turned out to be a
structural description, and a non-committal one at that. The goal of literary
studies was to a large extent the advocacy
of one’s interpretation of a particular work and, in conjunction, of the
work itself as a meritorious exemplar worthy of such explication.
Statements and claims in linguistics were confirmed by data as additional samples were collected and compared
to a given formulation. Since potential data are infinite, it could not be
determined exactly how much data were need or confirm or disconfirm; and
linguistics has been replete with formulations that were later found to be
premature. In literary studies, the implicit standard for confirming an
interpretation was the eloquence of
the scholar in persuading, convincing, and creating harmony and order.
Prospective linguists underwent training
by method, the most noteworthy being the techniques for eliciting,
recording, and analysing data by fieldwork. The success of descriptive and
‘tagmemic’ method in constructing grammars for remote languages, sometimes
even without the aid of bilingual informants, surely constitutes the most
enduring and admirable achievement of the discipline. Prospective literary
scholars were traditionally trained by
imitating the interpretive performances of established scholars, including
their teachers, upon concrete works. Whereas linguistics was characterised by collective
research among teams and each contributor sought to expand or stipulate the
accumulating model (or ‘grammar’), literary studies was devoted to individual
research, and each contributor sought to overturn previous interpretations
of the same work.
Linguistics has had a
reputation for being theory-centred,
though this is not fully justified in view of the enormous practical
achievements in descriptive fieldwork. Still, the theoretical aspects have been
widely emphasised, partly in tribute to scientific decorum and partly to
dissociate the linguist from the amateur or ordinary student of language.
Literary studies, on the other hand, has had a reputation for being practice-centred, based firmly on the activities of reading and
interpreting rather than on the formulation of abstract principles, though this
too is not fully justified in view of the steady input from philosophy,
aesthetics, history of ideas, and so on.
These, then, are some traditional contrasts between linguistics and
literary studies which help to account for their lack of direct interaction in
past decades. The occasion to rehearse them is the major shifts which, during
the last twenty years or so, have profoundly unsettled the conventions on both
sides in ways that create an auspicious scenario for a fundamental
reconciliation. I would argue that these shifts have resulted more or less
spontaneously from the increasing pressure of unresolved problems generated on
both sides by the standing conventions I have outlined. Indeed, one might go so
far as to argue that, if pursued without regard for the consequences, these
conventions could lead to untenable positions and to a crisis between theory and
practice. But scholars on both sides have admitted various compromises or
modifications, albeit more often been implicit than programmatically declared.
and Discourse as ‘Linguistic’ Entities
The celebrated distinction
between language and discourse, or ‘langue’ and ‘parole’, or system and
usage, is one the most fundamental conceptions of modern linguistics, but also
one of the most disputatious. Though he probably intended to protect linguistics
from absorption by neighbouring sciences, the resolution at the end of
Saussure’s Cours -- ‘the true and
unique object of linguistics is language studied in and for itself’ --
encouraged scholars to believe that the two sides could and should be kept
separate. Yet as an empirical human phenomenon, the language itself is never
given or present for observation, nor is it known to any one speaker. What is
given and present is always the text or discourse, and whatever any one speaker
‘knows’ of the language must be an abstraction and summation from
experiences with text and discourse. Even the isolated sentence treated as an
object for analysis is part of the discourse of the analysis; its context is not
dissolved, but merely transformed.
To use the term ‘language’ in the theoretical sense established by
Saussure is to appeal to a hypothetical consensus among the community of
speakers despite their inevitable diversities of knowledge and experience. In
effect, linguistics instated, without empirical justification, the credo that
this consensus forms a de facto adequate basis for general statements and does
not constitute a serious theoretical problem in its own right. This credo
remained fairly intact as long as the main emphasis fell on those issues in
phonology, morphology, and grammar that constitute focal points of regularity,
but became unsettled as research progressed toward less regular issues and
devoted more attention to the domains of semantics and pragmatics.
A particularly forceful thrust into new waters came when ‘grammar’
was reinterpreted by the generativists in the much more ambitious sense of a
complete set of structures and rules which describe all sentences of a language
and exclude all non-sentences. The inaugural hope that a limited domain of pure
‘syntax’ or grammar could be fenced off and described independently proved
elusive as soon as research progressed beyond the introspective cases
hand-picked to fit the approach. The attempts to formulate such a grammar
encountered substantial diversity where consensus had long been assumed. It
became clear that syntax alone could not supply the needed constraints, and
semantics and pragmatics would have to be integrated. Moreover, as long as the
generativists did not have a conception of text or discourse, they faced the
daunting if not impossible task of attempting to state, at the level of the
virtual system, all the constraints that could apply to actual utterances; or,
failing that, of determining, by precise, motivated, and practicable criteria,
just which constraints were or were not relevant.
The turn toward text linguistics and discourse analysis in the 1970s and
1980s was thus to some degree less an attempt to break genuinely new ground than
a response to pressure from problems inherent in ‘non-textual’ (sentence’)
linguistics. Hence, early text linguists imagined that their task would be to
add a complementary set of rules and structures onto the ‘sentence grammars’
proposed so far, so as to account for the linkage of sentences into sequences,
the distribution of pronouns, the formation of extended ‘referential chains’
and so on. This project only made the task that much harder, and the resulting
‘text grammars’ were yet more complicated and ambitious; the task was still
to state, at the level of the ‘text grammar’ (abstract system), all the
constraints that could apply to texts.
The insight only gradually emerged that working at this level of
abstraction was self-defeating for text linguistics. The generalisations that
can be made about all texts are not
terribly rich or enlightening, and the focal points of regularity in phonology, morphology and grammar constitute
unmanageable degrees of detail for text analysis. To attain more powerful and
unifying methods, we would have to address types
of texts and conditions of text production
and reception. We confront so much data in text and discourse that
exhaustive treatment, either in the minimal units of ‘structuralism’ or the
formal structures of ‘generativism’, was neither readily feasible nor
particularly informative. Instead, we would have to proceed from the focal
points of control, such as topic,
goal, and situational context, in order to determine which units or structures
are the more relevant ones for a given
In effect, the backlog of problems fomented by the original Saussurian
distinction finally had to be faced: linguistics would have to provide not
just theories and models of language (‘langue’, ‘grammar’, etc.), but
theories and models which could show how knowledge of the language, including
that gathered and ‘systematised’ by linguistics itself, can emerge from
experience with text and discourse; and, conversely, how text and discourse are
‘actualised’ in respect to the language as well as to other relevant
cultural, social, and psychological factors. That linguists might be reluctant
to embark on such an enterprise is readily understandable; but I see no other
prospect for material progress which could free the discipline from the
stagnation and fragmentation we have witnessed in so many areas since 1970.
In respect to the standing conventions outlined in Table 1 for conventional linguistics, the turn to text and discourse entails a range of shifts, as characterised in Table 2 . Though they emerged from different ambiences, ‘text linguistics’ and ‘discourse analysis’ have converged today to the extent that we can treat them together for the purposes of a programmatic survey.
of the entire language as an abstract virtual
system (repertory of potential choices) envisioned by general linguistics,
text linguistics takes the text and discourse
as the basic entities, where ‘discourse’ straightforwardly designates a set
of texts directed to each other, especially in conversation. The text is neither
an abstract system nor a concrete artefact, but an interactive
event which itself has the character of an operating actual system (array of choices actually made). The
current function of a given element in the text-system is determined partly by
its function in the abstract system and partly by the current functions of
co-occurring elements in that context. Thus, the potential meaning of a lexical
item in the lexicon of English acts a set of ‘parameters’ which are
specified or adjusted when the item is assigned a meaning within a
general linguistics uniformly seeks data
of the entire language, text linguistics seeks data provided by particular text
types and data regarding the production
and reception of texts. As noted in above, this shift was enforced by
the embarrassment of riches that texts provide and by the sparsity of statements
that can be made about all texts. To
be sure, the shift brings us fresh problems in formulating workable typologies
of texts and realistic models of text processing, but impressive headway has
been made in numerous areas.
An emphatic turn away from introspection
as the main source of data not merely reinstated fieldwork, but supplemented it with three further methods: participation,
where the investigator joins in the practices of discourse as a social and
cognitive agent, albeit one with special focuses and motives; experiment,
where the investigator designs controlled discursive tasks, such as retelling a
story in one’s own words; and simulation,
where the investigator builds a working model to run on a computer, e.g. a
story-reading program that can answer questions or make summaries.
essentially static synchronic perspective held in place since Saussure is supplanted by
a perspective which is not simply ‘diachronic’ (centred on the history and
change of the whole language) but dynamic
and procedural, centred on the ongoing
discursive practices as they unroll in social interaction. The text loses its
apparent obviousness as a written artefact and is posed as a problem of how it
could be produced and received with relative ease and success despite the
undeniable complexities involved. We must assume, for example, that memory
storage is not unlimited, but efficiently organised to access and activate the
materials needed for the ongoing procedures. Also, the ‘function’ of a text
element (in the sense explained above) must fluctuate according to the stage of
the discourse where it occurs and the contextual factors relevant at that stage.
ideal speaker and the ideal
hearer shift to the text producer
and the text receiver as social and
cognitive agents, i.e. as ‘whole human beings’ within a cultural setting
who engage in discourse interaction in order to pursue goals and to gain or
provide access to knowledge. These notions are still abstractions but are far
more proximate to real text producers and receivers than were the ideal speaker
and hearer, who were held to ‘know the language perfectly’ and to have no
place of the community of all speakers,
which general linguistics had assumed to be uniform and homogeneous, we
contemplate the community as a social
complex of diverse classes and groups, among whom power and solidarity are
unevenly distributed within the ‘prevailing order’. Their respective
interests are typically asserted or denied by means of discourse, so that we can
expect to find conflicts and contradictions where general linguistics tended to
see a harmonious abstract system in which ‘everything is held in place’
(‘un système oú tout se tient’).
general outlook that sought rules and
regularities of the widest possible scope is now being reshaped as a cautiously
monitored balance between general and
specific. Here, we do not assume too readily that our data represent the
whole language, but attempt to determine, by empirical means, how far it may be
specific to a text type, social group, situational setting, and so on. Nor are
specific data considered less valuable, informative, or ‘scientific’, since
they materially help us bridge the gulf between the single text and the whole
rule of linguistics had increasingly
come to be seen as a formal algorithm
for creating, describing or transforming patterns in sentences, much as a
mathematical operation or a computer program might do. The strategy of text linguistics, in contrast, is a procedural heuristic
for managing topics and goals in situations that, at some level of detail, are
always novel. Whereas an algorithm is mechanical and guaranteed to yield the
‘correct’ result but applies only within strict limits, a strategy does not
always work but is flexible and powerful enough to handle many contexts and
notion of style as choice in linguistic stylistics is enriched by the notion
of style as a mode of discursivity
with concrete social consequences. The strategic use of one style over another
offers an important means for pursuing goals and providing -- or denying --
access to knowledge (cf. last section). Clearly, style can no longer be treated
as a matter of language alone, but a relation between language options and their
characteristic motivations and effects.
non-evaluative stance linguistics had
adopted to dissociate itself from the prescriptive and proscriptive stance of
traditional grammars is revised to be evaluative,
but by interactional criteria rather than vague attitudes about
‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’. These criteria
must be demonstrably relevant to the success of communicative events. A textual
usage counts as efficient if it is
easy to handle, effective if it helps
toward achieving a goal, and appropriate
if it suits the occasion. ‘Good usage’ and ‘correct grammar’ may not
qualify by such criteria, e.g. if they encourage complicated syntax or flowery
diction that only makes the audience confused and irritable.
the goal of linguistics has usually been description
(even when it was offered as ‘explanation’) (p. 2f), the text linguistics
and discourse analysis have the further goal of application
to discursive practices. Our highest priority would be to enhance the freedom of access to knowledge through discourse,
thereby aiding people to grasp both the world they live in and their
opportunities to develop themselves in education, career, and personality.
‘Knowledge of the language’ in the sense of general linguistics is obviously
just one factor, and if it were indeed fully uniform or ‘homogeneous’ it
could not the crucial one. However great the consensus about the whole language,
discourse strategies for expressing knowledge, obtaining co-operation, making a
favourable impression, and so on, are special skills quite unequally
distributed, especially for commanding a range of styles.
convention of confirming
generalisations, rules, and so on by confronting them with data
is of course still paramount in text linguistics, but an even more crucial test
is whether our findings are confirmed by
social relevance. If we are working to enhance the freedom of access to
knowledge, then we must obtain concrete results in such areas as education,
training, terminology, and translation. In this sense, we must take our own
advice and strive to make knowledge about
text and discourse accessible to those who require it, e.g. to designers of
educational materials. A higher concern for the readability and accessibility of
our own discourse about discourse may counterbalance the somewhat forbidding and
abstruse quality of some linguistic treatises in the past.
the training by method put in place by
descriptive linguistics remains an integral part of our enterprise, though not
in the stance of the ‘detached scientist’ invoked, say, by Bloomfield or
Z.S. Harris. Instead, training must explicitly include the prospective
investigator's engagement with the
data in its social context, and thus address the motivation for doing one type
of research rather than another. The detached stance of traditional science
claimed to be neutral and non-political, but in effect worked in favour of the
status quo and the institutional powers that sustained it. Today, text
linguistics and discourse analysis are increasingly engaged in a ‘critical’
function of seeking and providing the knowledge that make it possible to change
the status quo and resist manipulations by institutional powers not merely in
government and administration, but in commerce, mass media, and so forth.
Collective research is at least as necessary in text linguistics as
in general linguistics, if not more so in view of the expanding
interdisciplinary scope. However, this research needs to be carried out as a
self-reflective activity continually contemplating its own conditions,
including those of producing specialised discourse about general discourse.
the theory-centred reputation linguistics had taken on, especially
during the ascendancy of generativism, is now yielding to a monitored balance
of theory with practice. Like that between general and specific, this
balance is enforced by the sheer necessity of designing any theory at all,
since, without reference to practice, the set of possible theories of text and
discourse is unmanageably broad. Thus, a theory of text as a formal array of the
‘deep structures’ of its sentences would not merely be explosively
complicated but only distantly related, say, to a model of readability for
schoolbooks. A theory of text in terms of cognitive processing, in contrast, is
relatively proximate and has already been shown to have practical relevance in
this area. 
shifts summarised in Table 2 and briefly outlined in this section are therefore
indicative not of some coincidence of trendy fads, but of an integral evolution
required for significant progress by any standards, including those to which
linguistics itself is fundamentally committed. To complain that the newer
theories and models do not meet predetermined criteria of abstractness and
formality is to perpetuate the folk wisdom of ‘science in a vacuum’ that
draws no conclusions when science makes possible the voracious technological
depredation of the planet and the imminence of global nuclear destruction. We
will need a reputable and comprehensive body of data, issues, and projects
before we can state what criteria are in fact appropriate to the imposing tasks
‘Literary theory’ has become a cover-term for an increasingly diffuse
trend away from a concern with the individual text toward a concern with the
general conditions of literature or ‘literariness’. To some degree, this
trend might appear to the complement of that described for the shift toward text
and discourse in linguistics, since generality is being lowered in the first
case and raised in the second. Moreover, we find some commonalities in the
emerging terminologies on the linguistic and literary side: not just ‘text’
and ‘discourse’ themselves but ‘discourse analysis’, ‘textuality’,
‘intertextuality’, and so on. However, the uses of these terms diverge as do
the contexts in which they appear. Indeed, one can find two contemporaneous
introductions to ‘Discourse Analysis’ with virtually no sources in
And in terms of evolution,
the parallels are again imprecise. Literary theory resolved to strip away the
obviousness and routine of literary studies and its ‘object’, and to turn
whatever came to light ‘underneath’ into a theoretical problem for new
inquiry. This sensitivity toward submerged problems at the very base of the
discipline came earlier and developed more scope and momentum in literary
studies than in linguistics. The major motive for the difference was surely the
complexity the literary text presents to professional inquiry, as compared to
the simple isolated sentences so popular in linguistic discussions e.g. ‘the
farmer killed the duckling’ (Sapir) or ‘John is easy to please’ (Chomsky).
Literary scholars could easily see from the enormous acuity expended on any
‘great work’ that the issues involved were complex, though not in the sense
of linguistics, e.g. as an agglomeration of minimal units or a derivation of
multiple sentences from ‘deep structure.
The Saussurian resolution that ‘the true and unique object of
linguistics is language studied in and for itself' had no counterpart in literary studies. To proclaim that its
‘true and unique object is literature studied in and for itself’ would have
seemed either gratuitous (if one is denying the notion, which nobody has
seriously affirmed, that literature should be studied merely as source material
for history, theology and so on), or else arrogant (if one is ordaining that
literature should be cut off, a priori, from the history of culture and ideas).
Moreover, it would be premature to imply that we in fact have a well-defined
notion of ‘literature in and for itself’. On the contrary, the attempt to
draw borders around it seems singularly unproductive; it is hard to imagine a
single human concern or theme which has not
been evoked by literature at some time.
The early thrust toward
literary theory, as exemplified by Formalism, New Criticism, and such schematics
as Wellek and Warren’s Theory or
Frye's Anatomy, were motivated chiefly
by a desire for an explicit and organised methodology, whether the inspiration
came from linguistics (as with Formalism) or mythology (as with Frye). Whereas
intuition was increasingly enshrined in linguistics by the generativists, it was
increasingly questioned in literary studies, albeit much more gradually. The
institutions of literature and its study were after all vastly larger and more
entrenched than linguistics even at its highest points; and literary theory did
not enjoy the added advantage for the generativist school, which arrived on the
scene just when many new linguistics programs and departments were opening and
got in on the ground floor, as it were.
But the truly decisive
momentum of literary theory that changed it from an abstruse specialisation
within a few ‘comparative literature’ programs into an internationally
prominent topic in a great majority of language and literature programs came
when the search for methodology turned into a comprehensive engagement with the
problematics of literature as a whole, especially with those that were making
the search so arduous and elusive. The accessibility of the literary text as a
written artefact ‘on the page’ -- a view which Formalism and New Criticism
had if anything reinforced -- was increasingly put in question, and an unwonted
participant in the literary transaction took centre stage: the reader,
whose role had for centuries been tacitly occupied by any scholar or critic who
wished to assume it. This reader became the focal territory of all the
complexities and perplexities of literature in an engagement with the text that
displaced ‘the text itself’ as the focus of attention and the phenomenon to
be accounted for.
Probably because their first
interest in literature had been mainly historical, most of the earlier champions
of the ‘reader’, such as Jauss, Iser, and Fish, retained the author as a
concrete personage and point of authority for arguing that one way of reading
was more suitable than another -- that the issues uncovered were intended and
designed by Baudelaire, Fielding, or Milton. Even where other frameworks of
authority were offered, such as Freudian psychoanalysis (e.g. Holland), Marxist
theory (e.g. Jameson) and feminism (e.g. Millett), the real author
characteristically remained in place, though less in control than implied by the
historical groundings, e.g. as a locus of psychic drives, class conflicts, or
Once the act of reading was acknowledged to portend complex problematics,
the act of writing was bound to be reconsidered along similar lines. In the
mid-1960s, E.D. Hirsch could still argue that writing was ‘determinate’ but
reading was ‘whimsical’ and ‘lawless’, without sensing the incoherence
of his position nor the potential of his methods of ‘validation’ for burying
the literariness of literature beneath a naive and ponderous scholarly apparatus
whose ‘scientific’ credentials rested on the misguided notion, borrowed from
philosophy of science (e.g. Popper), that one can test and validate hypotheses
without inquiring where they come from.
But by the mid-1970’s, the model of a precisely circumscribed author
seemed incongruous vis-à-vis the influential models of a perplexed and
self-doubting reader, especially when we contemplate such authors as Rousseau or
the English Romantics. Hence, literary theory finally began to turn from the real
author toward models of the author
which any real author would fit only approximately. Here, authorship is more a
performance and a goal than a state or attribute of a person.
No longer shackled to historical biography, this model of the author
could only come from engagements with literary texts. If, as Iser effusively
showed, the text entails an ‘implicit reader’ , then it can
equally well entail an ‘implicit author’ who is just as much a literary
conception as is a fictional character in a play or novel. The heavy investment
of traditional studies in biographical documentation tends to dull our awareness
of the degree to which our notion of all literary authors flows first and foremost from their work,
whether they conspicuously centred their opus on creating a vision of themselves
(e.g. Whitman) or whether they were cryptically reticent about themselves (e.g.
The overall progression
theorising thus relentlessly led to a programmatic destabilising of the classic
triad of text, reader, and author up to the point where uncertainty, ambiguity,
figurality, and the like were no longer obstacles for the scholar to resolve,
but essential factors to be enacted or even celebrated. Startling disruptions of
academic decorum became fashionable, though chiefly by authorities who, like
Bloom and Hartman, could afford them by virtue of their prior careers as
Yet in a certain sense the wheel had merely come full circle. The
long-standing notion of the literary text as an ‘object made out of a
language’ had been problematic from the start, but had supported an expansive
enterprise purporting to analyse, interpret, and explain such ‘objects’ in
emulation of philosophical, historical, and scientific methods. The obvious fact
that this enterprise did not seem to be producing definitive results was either
ignored or else explained as a temporary inconvenience we could eliminate when
we had gathered enough examples and perfected our methods -- a belief still
underlying Hirsch’s project of validation which, thankfully, is not on the
agenda (not even on his).
In contrast, the insight
that literature is not a set of such ‘objects’ but a mode of discursivity
and engagement, though far more appropriate and productive, could not have
seemed auspicious as long as ‘discourse’ itself was not a prime theoretical
entity either in literary studies or in philosophy, history, and science. The
expanding preoccupation with discourse in various guises -- within ‘ordinary
language’ philosophy, historiography, ethnography, communication,
conversational analysis, social psychology, cognitive science, psychotherapy,
pedagogy, and many more areas -- create an auspicious ambience in which literary
studies could be reconciled with what it always had been but had often felt
uncomfortable about being.
Today, there is nothing particularly outlandish in asserting that
‘literature’ is a communicative domain for creating and contemplating
alternative worlds; even a realistic or documentary reconstruction of reality
shows us the ‘real’ as one among a set of alternatives. Or in asserting that
poetry extends this principle to language itself by practising alternative uses,
or by displaying ordinary uses as one alternative. Moreover, the recognition
that the aesthetic aspect of this
engagement arises from the persistence of multiple interconnected significances
means that interpretation cannot be the imposition of harmony and order alone,
but the enactment of a dialectic between harmony and conflict, between order and
incongruity, between real and potential -- which brings us to much the same
standpoint as discourse analysis. This dialectic refers to and subsumes the
diversity of elements without negating it, so that the language material
deployed for a given ‘style’ cannot subsist independently from the
‘content’ or ‘message’ yet is not identical with it either as means or
as effect. Similarly, values do not obscure or distort but constitute both
precondition and ambience of the engagement.
If it follows that literary theory should recognise and account for this
‘alternativity’ and dialectic in its models of text, reader, and author,
then the development I have sketched seems reasonable, if not indeed compelling.
But we will need a different epistemology which can only emerge from a
higher-level consolidation of the models in literary theory (and in discourse
analysis as well). Close scrutiny reveals a disquieting number of literary
theorists -- the examples are too glaring to need being named here -- for whom
theory is just one more means for personal aggrandisation, if not for an
outright personality cult; and the old battle over who has the ‘right’
interpretation threatens to be succeeded by an equally acrimonious battle over
who has the ‘right’ model of author, text, or (especially) reader.
In sum, we can indicate the shift from traditional literary studies
toward literary theory with the parameters shown in Table 3.
the simplifications involved here are especially acute, because literary
theorists place a much higher value on individualism than do text linguists.
The text as a written (and
presumably closed) artefact is
‘decentred’ into discourse as an
open-ended transaction, which for some
theorists (e.g. Foucault) extends to broad social and institutional frameworks.
The term ‘intertextuality’ has gained some currency for the vision of the
‘open’ text as a meeting point or ‘weaving’ of other texts. Such a
vision was traditionally either eschewed as detrimental to the reputation of a
given work and author or else relegated to ‘influence studies’ of a somewhat
canon as the established and accepted
catalogue of works becomes the issue of how and why certain works or authors
were selected, and how and why revisions
of the canon came about. The contours of the canon were considerably
relaxed, and new attention was accorded to ‘trivial’ and ‘popular’
literature as part of groundwork on which ‘high’ literature rested. A recent
intriguing revision has been the authors who rose in fashion in the wake of
literary theory itself because, like Rousseau or Shelley, they so aptly
illustrated the perplexities foreseen by such models as those of the
now-scattered ‘Yale school’.
notion of literature simply being handed down by tradition
is displaced by an examination of the ways it is mediated and channelled by
literary institutions, including not
just the ‘academy’ of literary studies in universities and institutes, but
the policies of publishers and editors, the awarding of literary prizes, and so
historical orientation, which
projected a view of literature in a chronological progression of authors and
works, shifts toward a programmatic
orientation which sees literature as a complex of projects for navigating the
complexities of literary communication. The orderliness of chronological methods
is found to be a liability in disguising trends and currents across diverse time
periods, e.g. the one linking German ‘Expressionismus’ of the 20th century
with the ‘Barock’ of the 17th. Even the vision of an author influencing
another who came earlier (e.g.
Shelley’s Cenci as a tribute to
Browning) has had a certain vogue: though historically perverse, it help us to
perceive a richer orchestration of voices among alternative means toward similar
the motives sketched above, the real
author was gradually, and by no means unanimously, recast as the more or
less general model of the author. A corollary was the emergence of literary
production as a category for describing what functions such a model might
assume, and in some theorising (e.g. Foucault’s), came to dominate over the
author, who was progressively ‘de-centred’. This occurred, I have suggested,
in symmetry with the prior shift whereby the scholar
ceased to be automatically instated as reader
and a model of the reader was
propounded. Here, we witness a corresponding turn toward the category of literary
reception, or, in Germany, ‘aesthetics of reception’.
the school or movement
had been a traditional means of categorising, the more complex notion of ‘horizon’ (to borrow an influential term propagated by Jauss)
subsumes all the factors bearing on what authors and works were expected to
involve. Whereas ‘school’ or ‘movement’ suggests an often misleading
unity, ‘horizon’ suggest the background or frame, with the work in the
foreground partly fulfilling and partly revising it. This dynamic conception
altered the traditional concentration on the special
or unique qualities of the single work
in favour of a dialectic between
innovation and expectation. The specific achievement was thereby seen not as
some miraculous ‘aborigination’ or divine inspiration, but a strategic and
highly skilled modification of prior systems of shaping and sense-making.
If the conventions of genre had
been stressed for classificatory or pedagogical motives, the instability
of genre now rose into view: the valid work does not merely conform to its
genre but modifies it (e.g. Sterne’s Tristram
Shandy) or cuts across genres (e.g. Joyce’s Ulysses).
In this outlook, the genre is continually in the process of being constituted
and reconstituted and is therefore more a part of the problem of classifying
literature than the solution.
concept of style as ornamentation
moves toward the concept of style as a
mode of literariness, one mode of discursivity among many others, but a
highly influential one in some cultures. Like genre, a style requires a
dialectic between innovation and expectation in order to assume a distinctive
identity, and thus also functions more as problem than solution, especially when
an author (like Hemingway) becomes fixated in the public estimation and forced
to perpetuate an early style, or conversely, when an author (like the Shelley of
The Cenci) abruptly repudiates his own
style in seeking out another genre.
with these shifts, the project of placing a stable
value on the text evolves into an increasing sensibility of the transient
value of the engagement with the text, a process that unceasingly raises the
problem of value without enabling us to resolve it in any enduring or
large-scale manner. We may value a work when it innovates or when it meets our
expectations, even though neither innovation nor expectedness is a value by
itself. We may appreciate of a genre or style without in any way esteeming all
of its instances. We may alter our evaluations between different readings of the
same work. And so on.
advocacy of an interpretation and
implicitly, also of the text, is less vital now than the advocacy of a model of literary communication. If we are to contain
the danger of the old quarrel over the ‘right’ reading of a poem being
merely supplanted by a quarrel over the ‘right’ model of poem-readers (see
above) -- something of the sort is sporadically and indecisively fought out in
the pages of Critical Inquiry or New
Literary History -- we need to refine our criteria. Confirmation by
eloquence is still quite fashionable, especially when the model itself is as
arcane and convoluted as Bloom’s or Hartman’s. The alternative would be confirmation
by insight via the modes of literary engagement that the model brings to
consciousness; and this is by nature inclusive rather than exclusive.
still much in vogue is training by
imitation, though in their eagerness to make their models attractive,
prominent literary theorists seems paradoxically resolved to bankrupt any
potential following in advance with the sheer inimitable brilliance of their
performances. Training by method
remains in fairly rudimentary stages in comparison, say, to the fieldwork of
linguistics and discourse analysis, but is clearly on the advance.
the tradition of individual research
is still firmly in place, doubtless because the complexity of literary
communication seems handiest to master with a personal blend of introspection
and demonstration. A group of theorists may reach some critical mass of
consensus, as in the ‘Yale school’, but this same group reveals complex
variety unravelling uniformity (Bloom and Hartman not being
‘deconstructionists’ in any sense like de Man and Hillis Miller). In most
institutions, the prospect of empirical
research by teams is still remote or at best marginal. The ‘International
Society for the Empirical Study of Literature’, founded in 1987, is mainly a
group of sociologists, psychologists, and continental Europeans working outside
major literature programs, where their impact on the daily practices of using
literature is not likely to be significant.
If the practice-centred
tendencies of former times are slowly moving toward a balance of theory with practice, dizzying vacillations can yet be
felt. In the first place, the heavy commitment to theory is by no means
universally motivated by an intention to transform practice, and in some cases
(e.g. Bloom), such an intention is expressly repudiated. In the second place,
the practice offered by numerous theorists to demonstrate their models retains a
personal touch, and blends together how people read with how they should
read. For example, an empirical project designed to test Iser’s model of
the ‘implicit reader’ found that ordinary readers do not adjust to
‘gaps’ in the text, but ignore or distort them and cling to whatever does
meet their expectations. The ‘implicit reader’ reads so much
like Iser himself that we will need extensive bridging if the model is to be
Text Linguistics and Discourse Analysis Compared to Literary Theory
By juxtaposing the shifts categorised in Tables 2 and 3, we can compare
the trends in text linguistics and discourse analysis on the one hand and in
literary theory on the other, as shown in Table 4. Though several disparities
can still be detected here, we by no means
discover the stark contrasts indicated in Tables 1, 2, and 3.
and discourse are now accepted as central entities on both sides,
although theses terms have a wide range of interpretation. For discourse
analysis, the emphasis falls squarely on the social and cognitive aspects, while
in literary theory, the social ones are emphasised only by the political
‘left’ in cultural anthropology, materialism, feminism, Marxism and so on
(e.g. Foucault, Millett, Jameson); and the cognitive ones mainly from the
standpoint of phenomenology and gestalt theory (e.g. Iser) and sociology of
knowledge (e.g. Jauss, Bleich). Some conspicuous branches of
‘post-structuralism’ promulgate a curiously convoluted and self-directed
notion of ‘text’ or ‘discourse’ from which society is essentially absent
and cognition is transfixed in ‘aporias’ (e.g. the erstwhile ‘Yale
school’). The same limits apply if we compare the view of text
producer and text receiver as social
and cognitive agents with the models
of author and reader, and of literary
production and reception. Again, literary theory has not pursued the social
and cognitive aspects as extensively and consistently as might be desired to
enhance or clarify the design of models or to estimate which of two models is
sources of materials are also somewhat incommensurate, in that text linguistics
is in principle concerned with all
text types, whereas literary theory is still selective, albeit broadening
considerably beyond the traditional ‘canon’, e.g. by addressing
‘trivial’ and ‘popular’ literature. Also, data about production and
reception are central to text linguistics but still mainly speculative in
literary theory, perhaps for motives of expedience. Fish’s ‘affective
stylistics’, for example, is clearly at variance with the findings on real
reading in projecting a word-for-word linear procedure and ignoring the
hierarchical processing that buffers real readers from the small-scale
‘surprises’ Fish deems so significant.
A particularly marked contrast can be seen between the
data-gathering techniques, which, as noted in above, are both empirical and
diversified in text linguistics and discourse analysis, but still firmly
ensconced within literary institutions for literary theory. The ‘Empirical
Society’ sketched in the third section represents a noteworthy counter-trend,
but its potential to exert a major impact on those institutions is still very
much an open question.
The parallel between a dynamic,
procedural orientation and a programmatic
one is more compatible, though with some differences in degree and focus.
Literary theory has adopted a wealth of programmatic approaches that are
certainly more dynamic not merely than traditional literary studies but such
early theoretical trends as Formalism and New Criticism. The extent to which
they could also be called procedural is less readily evident, since, as I
remarked, the striving for eloquence and brilliance tends to obscure the
underlying procedures of the actual reading .
The concept of the community
as social complex is in principle relevant for the concept of ‘horizon’
in that literary expectations are current among a substratum of that complex.
Yet the status of that substratum within the whole is still much less
well-defined than would be desirable in view of the widespread but largely
planless use of literature in public education (see last section).
The balance of general and specific in text linguistics is only partly
compatible with the balance of innovation
vs. expectation in literary theory and is otherwise concerned with a whole
range intermediary constructs between the whole language and the single text --
text type, register, style, context, situation, and so on -- which form the
framework within which anything may be more or less innovative or expected.
The concept of strategy
as heuristic would be helpful for appraising both the instability
of genre and the diversity of style,
since for the text producer, both genre and style are more projects or targets
than facts or artefacts. We could thus envision a style or genre as a complex of
strategies guiding text production along with the more general cognitive and
linguistic strategies addressed by empirical research so far. The two
conceptions of style are accordingly quite proximate: neither something in
the language or in the text, but a mode of
discursivity which may be literary, non-literary, or quasi-literary (e.g.
If discourse is evaluated
by interactional criteria, we can apply the same outlook to ask whether the
traditional values in literary studies were relevant or favourable for the
interaction of authors and readers; and considerable evidence suggests that they
were so only in special circles but not in general education. If values are
served up as predecided and bound up with a single ‘correct’ reading, then
the reader’s opportunity for a self-reliant value
of engagement is abridged or even alienated. Literary theory provides good
reason to expect major advantages from encouraging readers to discover their own
values and readings, and to acknowledge the dependency of value on the richness
of those readings. This project would constitute one application to discursive practices that would also support an advocacy
for a model of literary communication as the development and enrichment of
the self and the imagination. This would clearly constitute confirmation
both by social relevance and by
As remarked above, training
by method is more advanced in discourse analysis than in literary theory,
mainly because of the diverse traditions inherited from general linguistics on
the one hand and from literary studies on the other. The degree to which the
investigator engages with the method is at present disputed on both sides,
though ‘critical engagement’ is rapidly gaining ground.
The prospects are favourable
for the reconciliation in research of a self-reflective
orientation with an empirical one, but
much is still to be done. In discourse analysis, empiricity has tended to
discourage self-reflection in some quarters, but the balance has been
impressively even-handed in most. In contrast, the intense
self-reflections in literary theory so far have seldom led to a genuinely
empirical alignment that could, among other things, provide material criteria
for the advocacy of models (cf. p. 11).
Finally, the balance of theory with
practice is yet a bit uneasy on both sides, but the signs are encouraging,
and the isolation of theory from practice so often witnessed in the past is
barely admissible today. What remains to be achieved, however, is the alignment
with the wider social practices of discourse beyond the bounds of the
disciplines themselves, and I shall conclude by briefly examining this point.
as a Social Problematic
Discourse is not merely something that people learn to produce and
receive, but something that mediates most other modes of learning. Therefore,
the need for application to practice is nowhere more urgent than in the
institutions of socialisation and education. The apparent order of
‘curricula’ and ‘lessons plans’ is usually based on a naive, reified
categorisation of the subject matter into ‘content’, e.g. history as a batch
of people, places, and dates, rather than a social and political evolution
following distinctive processes of power versus solidarity.
From the vantage point of discourse analysis, the chief defect in
socialisation and education is the failure to appreciate the full role of
discursivity as the central mode for accessing knowledge and to draw the
consequences. Substantial research, notably at the Centre for the Study of
Reading (University of Illinois, Urbana) has been able to demonstrate the
diffuse, often inefficient design of such materials as textbooks and lectures.
Viewed apart from discourse, facts and figures are all too easily imagined to be
straightforward little packets of knowledge waiting to be collected. In
discourse, however, they are merely incidental points that become meaningful and
memorable only in rich contexts, which the learners have traditionally been left
to design on their own; and if they did not prosper at this sophisticated task,
they were classed as ‘average learners’, which in effect meant that they
should not expect any special consideration from the educational system. This
large middle group was treated offhandedly for not being ‘intelligent’ or
‘bright’ in the peculiarly narrow and uncreative senses generated by a
system that hoarded facts and figures but could not meaningfully communicate
them in relevant contexts.
In the ‘language
programs’ of educational institutions (e.g. English Departments in the US),
the traditional preoccupation with a certain quasi-literary brand of fastidious
(‘correct’) prose all but eclipsed the realistic development of those
language skills for which the majority of learners (the ‘average’) already
had the prerequisites by virtue of speaking the language. Most uses of
literature were either historical (people, places, and dates) or, where
interpretation was involved, authoritarian. The total message transmitted to the
learners was that they were not fully incompetent to read or write, though, by
dint of strenuous exertions, perhaps able to make a reasonably good showing now
and then on an essay or test.
The imperative today is clear enough, however arduous and remote its
realisation: an integrated, discourse-centred approach to the entire educational
experience, placing the language program in the pivotal (and rather daunting)
position of training the discourse skills for navigating both in everyday life
and in the several domains of schooling itself. For example, geometry could be
approached as a ‘special purpose discourse’ about a system of idealised
spatial relations, and English teachers would work with the geometry
teachers to co-ordinate their own focus. In such an environment, the teacher’s
task would no longer be to dispense isolated facts and correct or punish
deviations from these, but to serve as expert and consultant within the
discourse about integrated domains where a set of facts can become meaningful
and instrumental in the production of further knowledge.
The university level is of course the ambience where this design must
first be developed, but also where it must first be put into practice. Current
programs for ‘writing across the curriculum’ and for the investigation of
special-purpose language and terminology are steps in this direction, but a much
more sweeping reorganisation and co-ordination will be needed before
discursivity attains the pivotal role it merits. Every specialised area needs both explicit coursework by learners in
the appropriate discourse and regular reassessment by experts of the prevailing
terminology. Here too, the university must develop model educational
materials that can support a general reorientation in lower-level schooling.
If my assessments of the recent shifts in the second and third sections
seem unduly optimistic or premature, and my projections in the fourth and fifth
sections unduly expansive and ambitious, I would respond that more traditional
assessments and projections have been slanted in the opposite direction.
Consistently perpetuating routines, pursuing mosaics of incidental subtasks, and
taking it for granted that theory and practice were aligned as well as they
needed to be, has allowed the disciplines based on language to drift ever deeper
into a unacknowledged crisis, wherein neither theory nor practice seems adequate
to a very conspicuous crisis in global communication arising in the wake of the
information explosion. Moreover, the continuation of ineffectual or
authoritarian routines saves labour at the upper end (teacher or expert) only to
waste it at the lower end (learner or novice). It has thus not been realised
that the substantial proportion of ‘average’ result or even of failure in
socialisation and education is due not to low intelligence, lack of aptitude, or
laziness, but to fundamentally unbalanced and ineffectual discourse, and is
therefore not a natural product of a competitive system but a egregious denial
of the personal freedoms guaranteed in principle by modern democracies. For
everyone’s sake, including ours, we must henceforth do all we can to bring
about freedom of access to knowledge, in and through discourse.
paper grew from an invited seminar at the University of Southern Florida in
 Around 1880, linguistics became distinct from philology through the work
of major scholars like William Dwight Whitney, Jan Ignacy Niecislaw Baudouin de
Courtenay, Mikolai Habdanc Kruszewski, and Henry Sweet; and the study of modern
language and literature separated off from ancient through the creation of
actual university chairs -- a development for which linguistics would still have
to wait quite a while.
 Quoted from Chomsky (1965:9). The widespread misreading of the term in
the sense of ‘produce’ was probably desired, e.g., to shore up the thin
claims that generative grammar captured the ‘creativity’ of language.
Chomsky (1965:8; 1957:17) offered ‘technical devices for expressing a system
of recursive processes’ as ‘an explicit formulation of creative
processes’. Yet recursion is the exact opposite of creation and just churns
out the same thing at fixed increments. The real creativity of language, as
shown, say, in poetry, falls in a major trouble zone of generative theory,
namely on the borders of the ‘grammatical’.
 Aside from Peter Hartmann, few general linguists or text linguists appear
to have foreseen this development.
 Clear evidence for his convergence can be seen in the consensus of
authors in the 10th-Anniversary issue of the journal Text (van Dijk [ed.] 1990).
 See Beaugrande (1980, 1984).
 For surveys, see Beaugrande (1980-81, 1982, 1984, 1997); Heinemann &
 Chomsky (1965: 3) attributes this ‘idealisation’ to ‘the founders
of modern general linguistics’, but I could not find anything like it in the
writings of Saussure, Sapir, Bloomfield, Firth, or Hartmann, who surely count as
founders. At most, Hjelmslev contemplated ‘eliminating’ ‘accidents' and
`’disturbances’ ‘in the exercise of language’ (in ‘parole’)
(1969: 94), but he had no ‘speaker’ or ‘hearer’ at all.
 On this distinction, see
especially van Dijk and Kintsch (1983).
 See for instance Chilton
(ed.) (1985); Wodak (ed.) (1989); van Dijk (ed.) (1990); Fowler (1991).
 For an application of this proposal to general linguistics, see
Beaugrande, Theory (1991).
 See for example Riley, Greeno, and Heller (1982);
van Dijk and Kintsch (1983).
 E.g. Coulthard (1985) (linguistic) and Macdonnel (1986) (literary).
 For an astute critique of this notion and an impressive project directed
by Herbert Simon for modelling scientific creativity through simulation, see
Langley et al. (1987).
 The exact translation of the
original German title of Iser’s (1972) book, whereas the ‘implied reader’ in the English version (1975) goes further in
suggesting an act of projecting.
 Indeed, Wellek and Warren had listed Bloom and Hartman as model
practitioners of close reading!
Rousseau, see de Man (1981), and for Shelley, Bloom et al. (1979).
 Compare the papers in the first issue of volume 18 of Poetics
 Seminal papers collected in Warning (ed.) (1975).
 See Hömberg & Rossbacher (1977). Oddly, Iser told me he considered
this study a confirmation of his model.
 Or indeed
its intention to do so. A resolution
submitted by myself in collaboration with S.J. Schmidt and Gerhard Rusch at the
first general meeting calling for the
support of emancipatory uses of
literature was violently attacked by the planned organisers of the second
general meeting and tabled without a vote.
 See for
example Atkinson & Heritage (eds.). (1984); Drew & Heritage (eds.)
 For a basic
textbook designed to work on that basis, see Beaugrande (1985).
 A pilot
study for geometry is developed in Beaugrande , “Knowledge” (1991).
Papert’s (1980) excellent LOGO project for learning mathematics by computer
simulation does not recognise the role of discourse, probably because the child
is mainly self-communicating by writing simple programs on a terminal.
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