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Dialogue and LiteratureApostrophe, Auditors, and the Collapse of Romantic Discourse$
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Michael Macovski

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780195069655

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195069655.001.0001

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Three Blind Mariners and a Monster: Frankenstein as Vocative Text

Three Blind Mariners and a Monster: Frankenstein as Vocative Text

(p.104) (p.105) 4 Three Blind Mariners and a Monster: Frankenstein as Vocative Text
Dialogue and Literature

Michael Macovski

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses linguistic dialogue in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, in which language or discourse is offered as a means of recovery and empowerment for the story's players. Narrative apostrophe is employed to invoke the “silent auditor,” to bridge the interpretive gap between signifier and the signified. Many studies argue that this method serves to disperse the narrator's efforts to develop a coherent identity and undermines his attempts to veer away from solipsism by internalizing that which should remain part of the external milieu. The opposing voices often utilized in narrative apostrophe reveal the rhetorical construction of the self from multiple views. In the case of Frankenstein, the efforts of the monster to try and articulate its existence to the world illustrates the view that linguistic interaction is vital to one's “being.” The latter sections discuss and analyze the modes in which linguistic interchanges between the major characters are carried out.

Keywords:   Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, narrative, apostrophe, linguistic interaction, silent auditor, language, discourse

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