Edited by Matti Peikola and Birte Bös
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 317] 2020
► pp. 33–62
Originally introduced in literary theory, Gerard Genette’s concept of paratext has been increasingly adopted in historical linguistics as a collective term for features other than the so-called ‘body text’. While this development and the renewed attention to these features is welcome, we argue that Genette’s original concept has been simplified and at least partly misrepresented in the linguistic context. Using a newly compiled corpus of Punch magazine as our primary data, we discuss how and why the two constituent terms of paratext, peritext and epitext, can be useful in the linguistic context. More specifically, we demonstrate that when considered from a diachronic perspective, the interactions between the concepts may afford new insights into textual interpretation.