“Lazy reading” and “half-formed things”: indeterminacy and responses to Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing

Clark, Billy (2019) “Lazy reading” and “half-formed things”: indeterminacy and responses to Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing. In: Pragmatics and Literature. Linguistic Approaches to Literature . John Benjamins. (In Press)

[img] Text
AAM_Clarkb_2019_LazyReaders.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (515kB)


This chapter considers how ideas developed within relevance theory can be applied in accounting for different kinds of responses to Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing. The discussion here focuses on the opening of the novel, using this to illustrate difficulties posed for readers by the novel as a whole and to consider how different ways of responding to these difficulties can lead to different kinds of responses.
McBride’s novel is a challenging text which raises issues for pragmatic theories as well as for readers, since it is hard to establish what it explicitly and implicitly communicates. Some readers (including, significantly, some critics and judges for literary awards) have responded positively to the novel. Others (including many literary agents and publishers) have responded negatively. Some readers report beginning with a negative reaction and then becoming more positive. This chapter suggests that ideas developed within relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson, 1986; 2015) can help us to understand how texts differ as well as how readers respond differently to specific texts, including McBride’s novel.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Q100 Linguistics
Q200 Comparative Literary studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 30 May 2019 08:14
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 08:54
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/39422

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Policies: NRL Policies | NRL University Deposit Policy | NRL Deposit Licence