A cognitive poetic model of humour in fiction

Haines, Alice (2019) A cognitive poetic model of humour in fiction. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis proposes a cognitive poetic model of discoursal humour: the 3D Model of Humour. Previous research has tended to separate aspects of humour in terms of the affective experience it produces, its cognitive basis, or its social inclusion and exclusion effects. However, humour is an integrated form of discourse and the context is a crucial part of how participants interpret a text. This thesis claims that the cognitive process of recognising humour is the basis of the elicitation of the affective state of humour appreciation. The aim of the 3D Model is, therefore, to integrate the findings of the various approaches to provide an account of humour that can explain how the recognition of humour can lead to the affective state of humour appreciation, and how recognition and appreciation relate to the social context and effects.

The thesis draws on Cognitive Grammar, in particular the concept of the viewing arrangement in which either the conceptual content or the conceptualisers and process of conceptualisation of a scene can be emphasised (or figured). It proposes that a construal in which the process of conceptualisation of a source of humour is figured will encourage a playful humorous interpretation. For humour to be recognised and appreciated, a participant must be sufficiently familiar with the source. Rather than the traditional idea that incongruity leads to humour, the proposal here is that the stylistic presentation of a familiar object or concept by one humour participant draws the attention of another participant to the item. If they share this item as part of their experience, this will contribute to their social bonding. The additional effort involved in recognising the item from its presentation also draws attention to the process of conceptualisation. This contributes to the process-figuring of the construal.

In order to illustrate and exemplify the theory, a range of excerpts from 21st century novels by UK-based authors are analysed. The thesis also presents three case studies to demonstrate how the 3D Model of Humour provides a means of analysing humour in a text and explaining how and why that humour can be recognised and appreciated.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Stockwell, Peter
Harvey, Kevin
Keywords: humour, cognitive poetics, stylistics, Cognitive Grammar, fiction
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 59507
Depositing User: Haines, Alice
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2020 09:59
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2021 04:30
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/59507

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