The Language of Life and Death: The Transformation of Experience in Oral Narrative

The Language of Life and Death: The Transformation of Experience in Oral Narrative

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William Labov
Cambridge University Press, 8/1/2013
EAN 9781107033344, ISBN10: 1107033349

Hardcover, 252 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
Language: English

We share the experience of others through the stories they tell of the crucial events in their lives. This book provides a rich range of narratives that grip the reader's attention together with an analysis of how it is done. While remaining true to the facts, narrators use linguistic devices to present themselves in the best possible light and change the listener's perception of who is to blame for what has occurred. William Labov extends his widely used framework for narrative analysis to matters of greatest human concern: the danger of death, violence, premonitions and large-scale community conflicts. The book also examines traditional epic and historical texts, from Herodotus and the Old Testament to Macaulay, showing how these literary genres draw upon the techniques of personal narratives. Not only relevant to students of narratology, discourse and sociolinguistics, this book will be rewarding reading for anyone interested in the human condition.

1. Introduction to the language of life and death
2. Narrative analysis
3. The escalation of violence
4. Confrontations with death
5. Premonitions and communication with the dead
6. Margie Knott
her confrontation with the neighbors
7. Gloria Stein
'They stoned the house'
8. Rose Norman
the death of her younger sister
9. Mary Costa
the death of her youngest daughter
10. Cache County
11. The vernacular origin of epic style
12. Historians' use of narrative
13. Thomas Babington Macaulay
the death of Monmouth
14. S. T. Bindoff
the death of Elizabeth
15. 2 Samuel
the death of Absalom
16. The narrative view of death and life.

Advance praise: 'Erudite, thoughtful and personal, an engaging book to be read and pondered, as much for the fundamental issues raised and the fascinating data analyzed as for the solutions offered.' Neal R. Norrick, Saarland University