Object Lessons : The Novel as a Theory of Reference - Bartlett, Jami

Object Lessons : The Novel as a Theory of Reference

Jami Bartlett

Yayınevi: Chicago University Press

Yayın tarihi: 06/2016

ISBN: 9780226369655

Ciltli | İngilizce | 184 Sayfa |

Tür: Edebiyat İncelemesi

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A good novel brings to life not only the nature of its characters, but also the physical presence of all of the things surrounding them, from the smallest trinkets to entire landscapes. Object Lessons explores this phenomenon and addresses a fundamental question about literary realism: how can language evoke that which is not language and render objects as real entities?

Drawing on theories of reference in the philosophy of language, Jami Bartlett examines novels by George Meredith, William Makepeace Thackeray, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Iris Murdoch that provide allegories of language use in their descriptions, characters, and plots. Bartlett shows how these authors depict the philosophical complexities of reference by writing through and about referring terms, the names and descriptions that allow us to “see” objects. At the same time, she explores what it is for words to have meaning and delves into the conditions under which a reference can be understood. She demonstrates, for example, how the daydreamers of Gaskell’s Cranford, confronted with objects that they will never have access to and lives they will never lead, build semantic associations between familiar and unfamiliar objects in order to grasp references they otherwise could not. Ultimately, Object Lessons reveals not only how novels make references, but also how they are about referring.

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