Abstract

Geoffrey Leech (Style 2007) has drawn attention to linguistic features of the opening of Great Expectations, specifically the third paragraph, where equative clauses depart from typical syntactic and rhetorical orders. Leech focuses on these and other grammatical features as a basis for interpretation. The aim is to show the continuing strengths of the formal approach of Leech and Short's Style in Language, while taking fair account of developments since. This paper, supporting Leech's basic emphasis on linguistic analysis, nevertheless takes issue with Leech, arguing (i) that all three of Pip's opening paragraphs need to be considered, (ii) that expressions in paragraphs two and three need to be considered in terms of their inter-related syntactic and pragmatic contexts, and (iii) that these features support a reading of Pip's opening statements as addressed, not directly to the real-world reader, but to an addressee already familiar with things reported by Pip.

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