Explorations in Stylistics - Andrew Goatly

Explorations in Stylistics - Andrew Goatly

The limits of politeness: a butler’s pragmatic dilemmas in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day

Explorations in Stylistics - Andrew Goatly

Andrew Goatly [+-]
Lingnan University
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Andrew Goatly has considerable experience in teaching English language and literature in colleges and universities in the UK, Rwanda, Thailand, Austria, and Singapore. He is at present Professor in the English Department of Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He is the author of The Language of Metaphors (Routledge 1997, 2nd edition, 2010), Critical Reading and Writing (Routledge 2000), Washing the Brain: Metaphor and Hidden Ideology (Benjamins 2007)and Humour and Meaning (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Description

In this chapter the author explores how the butler, Stevens, in The Remains of the Day encounters situations in which the politeness we might expect from a butler is challenged and abandoned. His polite and dignified self restraint in the service of Darlington and the institution of Darlington Hall come under pressure from self-interest, the ‘truth’ and the need for communication. And his subservience to this seat of power actually makes him less than polite to others whose demands conflict with his master’s. The chapter attempts to show how politeness theory, as an explanation for the breaching of the maxims of the Co-operative Principle, can be a useful analytical tool for understanding character and theme. It therefore belongs to a stylistics that takes seriously the intentionality of pragmatics in the addresser-addressee relationship.

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Citation

Goatly, Andrew. The limits of politeness: a butler’s pragmatic dilemmas in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. Explorations in Stylistics. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 144 - 176 Dec 2008. ISBN 9781845539085. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=21969. Date accessed: 21 Feb 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.21969. Dec 2008

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