Multiparty talk in the novel: the distribution of tea and talk in a scene from Evelyn Waugh's Black Mischief.

Thomas, B., 2002. Multiparty talk in the novel: the distribution of tea and talk in a scene from Evelyn Waugh's Black Mischief. Poetics Today, 23 (4), pp. 657-684.

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Official URL: http://poeticstoday.dukejournals.org/cgi/content/a...

DOI: 10.1215/03335372-23-4-657

Abstract

This article argues that studies of fictional dialogue have hitherto neglected the specific dynamics of multiparty talk. I will contend that this neglect contributes to the perpetuation of an "ideal" of conversation that allows no space for either the frustrations and inequalities of such encounters or the unique pleasures they may bring to the reader. I urge the importance of distinguishing between group talk, in which there is some element of cohesion and shared goals, and multiparty talk, in which the representation foregrounds fragmentation and explores the often subtle power games played by the participants. Focusing on a scene from Evelyn Waugh's Black Mischief (1986 [1932]), I argue that Waugh is sensitive to the dynamics of multiparty talk while orchestrating the representation for comic effect. I propose that analyzing such scenes of multiparty talk must make us reassess not only how we theorize fictional dialogue, but how far our models of everyday speech serve to privilege and universalize certain conversational practices and mechanisms based almost exclusively on the duologue.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0333-5372
Uncontrolled Keywords:fictional dialogue, multiparty talk, conversation, Waugh
Subjects:Social Sciences > Communication, Cultural and Media Studies
Literature
Group:Media School > Institute for Media and Communication Research
ID Code:1030
Deposited By:INVALID USER
Deposited On:30 Apr 2007
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 14:35

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