The discipline of English Literature from the perspective of SFL register
The paper first traces the history and elaboration of the tertiary discipline English Literature through the 19th and 20th centuries to the present day, with special focus on the axiology, the values, given to the discipline and with a brief account of literary criticism and literary theory. It then refers to the work on registerial cartography in systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and explores the register of the contemporary discipline in first-order field of activity and second-order field of experience, with examples from the language of webpages and exam papers of Australian universities. It continues with a brief overview of the author’s own work using SFL in the study of the poetic and the narrative in English poetry and prose fiction of different historical periods and concludes with a caveat on the central disciplinary process, that of interpretation.
Keywords: English literature, disciplinary register, systemic functional linguistics, tertiary English, literary criticism, literary theory, registerial cartography, description of poetry, narrative temporality, interpretation
- 1.Introduction: English Literature as a discipline?
- 2.Origins and the value of literature at the tertiary level
- 3.Scholarship / literary criticism / literary theory
- 4.The disciplinary register of English: first-order field of activity
- 5.The disciplinary register of English: second-order field of experience
- 6.Systemic functional linguistics and English literature
- 6.1Linguistic description and literary interpretation
- 6.2Using SFL to study the “poetic” and the “narrative”
- 7.Conclusion: English Literature as an evolving discipline
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Published online: 04 February 2019
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