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'Casino Royale': a case for corpus stylistics

By Michaela Mahlberg and Dan McIntyre

Abstract

Sinclair (2004: 51) points out: “[l]iterature is a prime example of language in use; no systematic apparatus can claim to describe language if it does not embrace the literature also”. Corpus linguistics stresses the importance of data as evidence of language use. The study of literary texts, however, has not received much attention yet within corpus linguistics, not least because it seems that for the corpus methodology, literature presents a difficult task. Although creativity and literariness can be described against the background of norms of language, the features that are crucial for one specific text are not always straightforward to identify and describe. The present paper looks at the example of Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale and explores corpus stylistic approaches to the study of this text. We will look at issues that are raised by frequency information for a single novel, and we will discuss routes for analysis that are suggested by computer key words and the comparison of one novel with a general purpose corpus such as the BNC and more specific collections of prose fiction. The paper is not only interested in the description of a particular novel, but also aims to discuss general theoretical questions. It will be argued that local categories of description are crucial to capture textual features in literary texts, and – at the same time – have to play a part in the systematic apparatus that corpus linguistics suggests to describe language

Topics: PA, PB, PE
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:2917
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