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Narrated Perception and Point of View in the Novels of Jane Austen

Pallares-Garcia, Elena (2014) Narrated Perception and Point of View in the Novels of Jane Austen. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis is a stylistic analysis of a narrative technique known as ‘narrated perception’ (Cohn 1978: 133-134; Fludernik 1993: 305-309) in the novels of Jane Austen. The analysis looks at the language features that characterise passages containing narrated perception (NP), and connects those features with the construction and interpretation of narrative point of view. NP implicitly portrays the sensory perceptions of a fictional character by describing an object or event as it would look, sound, feel, smell or taste to that character. In the following passage from Austen’s Persuasion (1818), Captain Wentworth has left the room abruptly and Anne is left wondering why. After a few minutes, ‘footsteps were heard returning; the door opened; it was himself’ (Austen 1998 [1818]: 222). It is up to the reader to interpret the description ‘the door opened; it was himself’ as Anne’s visual perception of Wentworth, with the implicit emotional implications this event has for her. A few scholars have studied NP as a distinct form of consciousness representation, but in general it has not received much critical attention. The analysis provides new insights into Austen’s style in the representation of characters’ consciousness, and contributes to a better understanding of NP as a narrative form. The research is primarily based on a qualitative analysis of passages. This is complemented by a quantification of instances of NP, aimed at revealing patterns and relationships between the novels. The analysis shows that NP represents perceptions more mimetically than other techniques; that it can be used with a range of functions and effects, such as irony and suspense; that it has the potential to mislead the reader in the interpretation of fictional events, and reflects the ideas of the time about the connections between sensory perception, attention, knowledge and emotion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.631450
Depositing User: Miss Elena Pallares-Garcia
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2014 14:19
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7448

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