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The Linguistics of Imaginary Narrative Spaces in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca

Newman, John

Abstract. Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel Rebecca provides rich opportunities for the study of imaginary narrative spaces and the language associated with such spaces. The present study explores the linguistics of the imaginary narrative spaces in Rebecca, drawing upon three lines of linguistic research consistent with a Cognitive Linguistic approach: (i) an interest in understanding and appreciating ordinary readers’ actual responses (rather than merely relying upon “expert” readers’ responses), (ii) the construction of worlds or “spaces”, and (iii) the application of ideas from Cognitive Grammar. The study reveals a surprisingly intricate interplay of linguistic devices used in the construction of imaginary narrative spaces and the maintenance of such spaces in extended discourse.

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