Sylviasta, Sylvialle, Sylviana : retoriikka ja merkityksenmuodostus osoitteessa www.sylviaplathforum.com
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities
This study explores the writings of Sylvia Plath Forum, a discussion forum in the Internet that was launched in 1998. Using Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis, Chaïm Perelman’s theory of argumentation, Kenneth Burke’s idea of identification as the basis of rhetoric, and René Girards’s theory of mimetic desire as its framework this study looks into the forum’s meaning-making processes and the ways the author Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) and her readers are represented on the forum. Attention is paid especially to meaning-making practices that are connected with literary studies, feminism, medicalization, and cultic phenomena. Furthermore, cultic discourse and fan discourse are understood in this work as two separate meaning-making practices. The definition of cultic discourse is based on Péter Dávidházi’s (2002) model of cultic reception but René Girard’s theory is also drawn on. The status of the transcendental is of importance in the definition of cultic discourse and the conceptual differentiation between the two discourses. This dissertation argues that cultic discourse has a dominant role in Sylvia Plath Forum’s order of discourse, while the other four discourses are crucial in the argumentation processes that aim at defining and defending the celebrated author’s cultural status and through it also that of her devoted readers. What is interesting in the forum’s writings is that the writers mainly share the conclusion (concerning Plath’s greatness) but argue about the grounds, whereas typically a speaker/writer would try to shift the adherence that certain premises already enjoy to the desired conclusion. Apart from the relatively stable position of cultic discourse, the forum’s order of discourse was in constant flux as the negotiations of meanings, especially the right way to represent Sylvia Plath and her oeuvre, were vibrant from the beginning until the end. The concept of ‘process’ is in many ways crucial: it not only characterizes this study’s understanding of its object but is of importance in the study’s overall definition of culture as an intersubjective communication process based on symbols. Moreover, the study’s perspective is also strongly influenced by René Girard’s mimetic theory in the analysis of aspects of mimetic desire, mediation, and scapegoat mechanism in the research data. However, as a result of its own negotiation of how to approach culture and social interaction, this study partly challenges Girard’s conception of the core of culture as well as the ontological realism of his theory, thus moving towards more open and dialogical points of view. ...
Alternative titleRetoriikka ja merkityksenmuodostus osoitteessa www.sylviaplathforum.com
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
Plath, Sylvia Sylvia Plath Forum literature reception discourse rhetoric representation mimesis ideology power confession dialogue culture reseptioestetiikka retoriikka argumentaatioteoria mimesis fanius blogit julkisuuskuva diskurssianalyysi kirjailijat elämäkerrat lyriikka lukijat tulkinta tekstit verkkokeskustelu
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