Cognitive Grammar and reconstrual: Re-experiencing Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’

Louise Nuttall, Chloe Harrison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the cognitive and experiential processes of re-reading, and their contribution to the conceptualisation of a fictional world. Fictional worlds are experienced dynamically, and often in multiple sittings, separated by varying lengths of time. While the myriad of contextual factors which distinguish sittings makes re-reading a difficult object of study, this aspect of our natural, everyday encounters with texts is worthy of consideration in stylistic discussion. As a first step in this direction, this chapter demonstrates an awareness of multiple readings, and the distinct experiences they represent, as part of a cognitive stylistic account of textual interpretation.

Firstly, a theoretical account of re-reading is outlined in terms of Cognitive Grammar and, in particular, its concept of construal. This account is demonstrated through analysis of the short story ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’ from Margaret Atwood’s 2014 collection Stone Mattress. Applying Cognitive Grammar's multidimensional model of construal, and a further process of reconstrual, we make specific predictions concerning readers’ experiences of this story’s fictional world on a first- and second-reading, looking in particular at changing conceptualisations of tone, atmosphere and narrative perspective, and the linguistic processing responsible. Based on this analytical case study, we propose a need for further investigation of texts which surprise readers, or which feature a twist or reveal, and the ways in which information is attended to across multiple readings.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperiencing Fictional Worlds
EditorsBenedict Neurohr, Lizzie Stewart-Shaw
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing
Chapter8
Pages135-154
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018

Publication series

NameLinguistic Approaches to Literature
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Volume32
ISSN (Electronic)1569-3112

Fingerprint

Fictional Worlds
Rereading
Margaret Atwood
Cognitive Grammar
Construal
Reader
Conceptualization
Atmosphere
Short Story
Surprise
Cognitive Stylistics
Length
Prediction
Contextual Factors

Cite this

Nuttall, L., & Harrison, C. (Accepted/In press). Cognitive Grammar and reconstrual: Re-experiencing Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’. In B. Neurohr, & L. Stewart-Shaw (Eds.), Experiencing Fictional Worlds (pp. 135-154). (Linguistic Approaches to Literature; Vol. 32). John Benjamins Publishing.
Nuttall, Louise ; Harrison, Chloe. / Cognitive Grammar and reconstrual : Re-experiencing Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’. Experiencing Fictional Worlds. editor / Benedict Neurohr ; Lizzie Stewart-Shaw. John Benjamins Publishing, 2018. pp. 135-154 (Linguistic Approaches to Literature).
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Nuttall, L & Harrison, C 2018, Cognitive Grammar and reconstrual: Re-experiencing Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’. in B Neurohr & L Stewart-Shaw (eds), Experiencing Fictional Worlds. Linguistic Approaches to Literature, vol. 32, John Benjamins Publishing, pp. 135-154.

Cognitive Grammar and reconstrual : Re-experiencing Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’. / Nuttall, Louise; Harrison, Chloe.

Experiencing Fictional Worlds. ed. / Benedict Neurohr; Lizzie Stewart-Shaw. John Benjamins Publishing, 2018. p. 135-154 (Linguistic Approaches to Literature; Vol. 32).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Nuttall L, Harrison C. Cognitive Grammar and reconstrual: Re-experiencing Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’. In Neurohr B, Stewart-Shaw L, editors, Experiencing Fictional Worlds. John Benjamins Publishing. 2018. p. 135-154. (Linguistic Approaches to Literature).