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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Three Matters of Style” considers how some stylistic Victorianisms function in novels. The three stylistic features (moving from the most local to most far-reaching) that this essay attends to are: the use of the adverbial “right;” the elaborated style, and the ‘suspended quotation.’ Taken together, one can see how Victorian authors deployed these stylistic strategies to create vivid relations between narrator, character, and reader. So when the adverbial ‘right’ occurs in a narrative passage, or in the speech of a character with whom the writer sympathizes, it is in effect a shibboleth, identifying the novel itself, and its author, with the values ‘right’ suggests, and with the values of other books which use this word. Arch style in Victorian novels generally distances characters by undermining them, and also highlights the distance between the author’s consciousness and the character’s. The Dickensian suspended quotation, like arch style, again creates distance through the exploitation of the author’s linguistic superiority to characters.

Keywords: Arch Style, Period Style, Dialogue, Latinate Diction, Narrator, Character, Suspended Quotation, Syntax, Family Resemblance, Inquit, Shibboleth.

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