Séminaire Pragmatics and creative writing (10 mai 2022)
En présentiel :
Maison de Recherche, salle 107.
Université Paris 8, Vincennes - St Denis
Ou via zoom (Nous envoyons le lien par mail, à la demande. Contact : benoit.leclercq04[at]univ-
This talk considers how pragmatic theories can be applied and developed in considering the practice of creative writers.
Some of the ways in which creative writers talk about their practice are likely to make pragmatic theorists optimistic, i.e. to suggest pragmatic theories are likely to be able to shed light on this. Raymond Carver, for example, claimed that ‘any literary work . . . is an act of communication between the writer and reader’, and Stephen King described writing as ‘telepathy . . . a meeting of minds’.
Others have seen writing as much more mysterious and so harder to explain. Harold Pinter, for example, described writing as ‘a highly ambiguous transaction . . . which might give way under . . . the author at any time’.
George Saunders (2021) talks about writing in more than one way. Some of his discussion suggests a fairly reflective practice involving fairly explicit reasoning. In other places, he suggests a more intuitive and unreflective practice.
At first glance, many pragmatic theories seem more suited to accounting for the more reflective practice than the more intuitive variety. This talks considers to what extent ideas developed within relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson 1986) can contribute to understanding each of these kinds of writing practice. One conclusion of the talk is that exploring these ideas can help us both to develop understanding of creative writing practice and to develop pragmatic theories.