Portch, Stephen R.
Literature's Silent Language
Year of Publication: 1985
New York, Bern, Frankfurt/M., 1985. VIII, 172 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8204-0172-0 hardback (Hardcover)
Weight: 0.380 kg, 0.838 lbs
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This book suggests that an understanding of nonverbal communication can be applied to our reading of literature, thus enriching our comprehension of characters, style, and meaning - particularly in the short story.
Its theoretical framework is established by drawing from the diverse research in nonverbal communication in psychology, physi- ology, anthropology, and sociology. A combination of these approaches gives the nine categories applied to the reading of the short stories in this study: regulators, body clues, adaptors, physical appearance, vocal tones, touch, space, time, and artifacts.
This interdisciplinary approach leads to close readings from a fresh perspective on the following familiar stories from different eras: Nathaniel Hawthorne's «My Kinsman, Major Molineux» and «Young Goodman Brown,» Ernest Hemingway's «The Killers» and «Hills Like White Elephants,» and Flannery O'Connor's «Good Country People» and «The Life You Save May Be Your Own.»
Contents: This book shows how authors develop characters and meaning through the nonverbal communication of those characters. The importance of nonverbal communication - particularly in the short story - is demonstrated through a systematic approach to selected short stories of Hwwthorne, Hemingway, and O'Connor.
«...this book is...an outstanding example of the application to literary criticism of social science perspectives on nonverbal communication.» (S.A. Rollman, James Madison University, Choice, March 1986)
«Portch's study will be of help...to teachers... who will be reminded of a number of consciously crafted patterns that give them tightness, coherence, and suggestiveness.» (American Literature 1986). «This study furnishes ... substantial contribution to a promising topic, a pioneering probe that should persuade others, not to say an academic mini-industry, that nonverbal communication is a worthy part of the study of literature.» (Donald Lateiner, STYLE)
American University Studies: Series 4, English Language and Literature. Vol. 19