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Title: H.G. Wells and language.
Authors: Hardy, Sylvia.
Award date: 1991
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: The thesis of this study is that H.G Wells had a coherent theory of language which derived from the most fundamental aspects of his thinking, and that this theory played an important part in his development as a writer. Throughout his life Wells was interested in the powers and limitations of language as a system of signification, and Chapter One traces the development of these ideas, particularly the way in which the psychology and philosophy of William James influenced his thinking, and suggests that in his early sociological writings, he anticipated later work in linguistics and psycholinguistics. The second chapter looks at Wells's approach to language as a social semiotic, and its importance in the communication of ideas, and it is argued that there was an unresolved conflict between Wells the social reformer, who wanted language to be unitary and universally comprehensible, and Wells the artist, who enjoyed the anarchic and subversive possibilities of linguistic diversity.;Chapters Three and Four explore this dichotomy in relation to the social and the subjective aspects of language use. Chapter Three draws on Marxist and sociolinguistic theories to examine the language of Wells's fictional characters in relation to social class. Chapter Four, looks at Wells's approach to psychoanalytic theory and the linguistic construction of the subject, and this is explored in relation to various theoretical approaches to discourse and narrative. In the last chapter, it is argued that Wells's style cannot be discussed in isolation from his ideas about language, and it must be seen, too, in the context of his dispute with Henry James and the development of literary Modernism.;The conclusion is that recent developments in narrative theory, particularly the work of Bakhtin, enable us to see qualities in Wells's realist prose which have been obscured by the Modernist aesthetic.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: Ph.D.
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of English
Leicester Theses

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