The Pragmatics, Poetics, and Ethics of Pronouns in Ford Madox Ford’s War Prose - Sciences de la vie - Ethique Access content directly
Journal Articles Humanities Year : 2024

The Pragmatics, Poetics, and Ethics of Pronouns in Ford Madox Ford’s War Prose

Abstract

This essay adopts a stylistic approach to delineate the various—and varying—pragmatic effects inherent in the use and interactions of pronouns in Ford’s war prose. Ford’s singular use of pronouns is shown to be instrumental in his practice of literary impressionism. In particular, the omnipresent second person is granted a variety of referents that coexist along a “continuum of reference” (as defined by Bettina Kluge), from a “you” that is speaker-oriented to one that is addressee-oriented. Sandrine Sorlin’s intersection of Kluge’s continuum with a gradient from personalisation to generalisation (2022) is illuminating when examining the manifold significance of Ford’s use of the second person, as it brings to light its ethical impact. Ford’s war essays shift from the general to the particular and from the collective to the individual in a manner that opposes propaganda rhetorics. Furthermore, the gradient established by Sandrine Sorlin to account for the pragmatic effect of “you” also proves remarkably useful when applied to the pronoun “one”. Scrutinising the interplay between these various pronouns allows us to investigate the multifarious relationships that Ford establishes in his war essays between the persona, the reader, those he often called “my men”, and the collective ethos of wartime Britain.
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hal-04514844 , version 1 (21-03-2024)

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Isabelle Brasme. The Pragmatics, Poetics, and Ethics of Pronouns in Ford Madox Ford’s War Prose. Humanities, 2024, 13 (2), pp.48. ⟨10.3390/h13020048⟩. ⟨hal-04514844⟩
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