Archives for category: Teoria i poetyka

The Uses of Genre and the Classification of Speculative Fiction

R.B. Gill
From: Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature
Volume 46, Number 2, June 2013
pp. 71-85 | 10.1353/mos.2013.0021

Optimally, a definition of speculative fiction will promote interpretation by suggesting affinities with similar explorations of human imagination and values. The looseness of the category provides opportunity for examination of varieties of classification and uses of genre.


This paper investigates the connection between counterfactuality and stereotypicality in direct speech representation. In Monika Fludernik’s theory of schematic language representation, quotations typify rather than reproduce, and typicality coincides with stereotypical expressivity in the form discourse particles, among other features. By distinguishing hypothetical speech proper from the more general concept of typifying direct speech, we can see that in fiction hypothetical speech is not always stereotypically expressive. In conversational storytelling, discourse markers serve the functions of source-tracking, emplotment, and expressing the quoter’s emotions and evaluation. I discuss reasons why fiction differs from conversational storytelling in this respect. Fludernik’s treatment of discourse markers or `typicality markers’ in direct speech representation is here complemented with Bakhtinian notions of dual expressiveness, speech genres, and the responsive quality of utterances. The arguments presented are illustrated by passages from the fiction of Carol Shields, Peter Bichsel, and Junot Díaz.


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