Author: Aunty Muriel

Repetition and narrative time in Muriel Spark’s ‘The Bachelors’, ‘The Ballad of Peckham Rye’ and ‘A Member of the Family’

This essay is not far short of 11,000 words, so I’ve posted the opening section here as a taster, followed by a pdf for download. ‘Story time’ is not the same thing as ‘narrative time’.  The Russian Formalists, active during the early years of the twentieth century, used the terms ‘fabula’ and ‘sjuzhet’ to refer…

Politeness theory and the complicit hearer-reader in Saki’s ‘The Talking-out of Tarrington’

In this essay I use the politeness theory framework as formulated by Brown and Levinson (hereafter B&L) in their 1978 study (reissued in 1987) to explore the interaction between two fictional interlocutors in Saki’s satire of the process of ‘talking-out’ a Parliamentary bill. I describe the progress and outcome of the characters’ conversation in terms…

“It’s SOMEONE’S fucking fault”: social responsibility in J K Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’

I’d planned to publish a post on The Casual Vacancy following the recent screening of the BBC adaptation of Rowling’s novel, but didn’t find the time. It seems appropriate to pick this up again now, following a general election in which many voted out of greed and self-interest, thus securing the re-election of the Tories…