Anyone came to live here some time ago

van Peer, Willie and Chesnokova, Anna (2014) Anyone came to live here some time ago In: 14th Conference of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media, 21–25 July 2014, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

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About half a century ago, a little revolution took place in the study of literature. Following the introduction of the ideas of the Russian Formalists and Prague Structuralists in the West during the late 1960s, a more rigorous approach to the study of literary texts was proposed, initially against fierce resistance from literary criticism. One of the major discussions of the time turned around the poem ‘anyone lived in a pretty how town’ by e.e. Cummings, especially about the heavy foregrounding that may be observed in the text. While traditional literary criticism seemed unable to handle the extreme degrees of deviations from syntax and punctuation, the new paradigm, based on then newer linguistic models, claimed to provide insight into the poet’s technique and intention, but at the same time to gain a grasp of the effects generated by this technique in readers’ processing of the poem. Initially, the debate was very much one of conceptualization and the framing of the function of literary analysis, in which arguments on both sides remained rather ‘philosophical’. No effort was made at the time to investigate the effects of the deviations empirically. This is where our research starts. In this paper we argue that the value of literary techniques lies in the effects they create in readers. Hence we will show the results of an empirical study in reactions to the poem by Cummings, both in its original form and in a manipulated version – from which virtually all syntactic deviations have been removed. Participants in the reading experiment were beginning vs. advanced students of English (as a foreign language). They reacted to a battery of scaled questions to particular locations in the text, as well as to the text as a whole.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Foregrounding; deviation; parallelism; e.e. cummings
Subjects: Це архівна тематика Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка > Наукові конференції > Міжнародні
Divisions: Це архівні підрозділи Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка > Кафедра англійської філології
Depositing User: Анна Вадимовна Чеснокова
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2015 07:28
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2015 07:28

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