Name, place, and emotional space: themed semantics in literary onomastic research

Butler, James Odelle (2013) Name, place, and emotional space: themed semantics in literary onomastic research. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This research uses literary resources as evidence against the argument that names are potentially semantically meaningless entities. A secondary goal is to highlight and discuss the value of onomastics from both a literary and linguistic perspective. The thesis proposes a methodology for the assessment of literary sources based on genre, arguing that names, and genre in turn, may be defined through their respective engagement with thematic considerations, providing a relevant critical structure by which to assess the application or construction of names within fiction.
The proposed methodology is first used to assess the placenames within dystopian literature, taking Orwell’s 1984 (1949), Huxley’s Brave New World (1931), and Zamyatin’s We (1924) as exemplar texts for the genre. The emblematic themes identified within the onymic patterns (propaganda, classification and regulation) all share a common thematic root: power and control. In order to assess the validity of this approach, the fictional worlds depicted in a selection of other dystopic texts are also examined. A special study is made of terrapsychology and fictional ontology, as well as of three distinct subgenres of the gothic. Case studies of the latter are each focused around a different ontological mode (fictional, part-fictional, and non-fictional placenames), covering the fantastic world of Peake’s Gormenghast setting (two texts published in 1946 and 1950), Lovecraft’s variant New England county (six texts, 1922 to 1936), and the representative contemporary setting of Brook’s World War Z (2006), respectively.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Names in literature, literary onomastics, semantics, terrapsychology, literary ontology, linguistic connotation, genre analysis.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Hough, Prof. Carole
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Dr James O. Butler
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4165
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2013 11:41
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2013 11:41

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