HAL will be down for maintenance from Friday, June 10 at 4pm through Monday, June 13 at 9am. More information
Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

The Expression and Triggering of Surprise in Joseph Jacob's Tales

Abstract : This paper deals with the emotion which Ekman (2003: 148) regards as “the briefest of all the emotions”: surprise. The aim of this article is to analyse the main linguistic devices used to encode this emotion in Joseph Jacobs’s European tales. In short literary genres like that of tales, surprise plays a strong role in the development of the narrative. Tales being usually designed for a young audience who needs to be entertained, the pragmatic use of mirativity is to be considered, or, in other words, the role it has in building up the interpersonal relationship between the narrator and the reader – or listener, if the tale is narrated orally. After discussing the link between surprise and mirativity in a first section, the present study sheds light on the most explicit way to express surprise, through the lexicon. Thus, the way the adjectives surprised and astonished are used is studied to show they do not only ensue from a descriptive strategy but also take part in making the narrative more dynamic. Certain markers of disruption in discourse, which are studied in the third section, can even be seen as fully-fledged narrative tools to trigger the addressee's surprise, not in relation to the nature of the events themselves, but concerning the way the events are introduced and presented in the narrative. Our study of disruption first focuses on the brevity of the emotion of surprise, which is represented in the short time lapse, or even absence of time lapse, that certain grammatical constructions encode between two events in the story. Then, this paper deals with the disruption of the narrative, which is examined through the interventions of the narrator who addressees the reader or the audience directly to appeal to her/his surprise.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

Contributor : Catherine Paulin Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Sunday, August 19, 2018 - 7:19:07 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 13, 2022 - 4:54:02 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01858119, version 1



Catherine Paulin, Héloïse Perbet. The Expression and Triggering of Surprise in Joseph Jacob's Tales. Recherches Anglaises et Nord Americaines, Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, 2018. ⟨hal-01858119⟩



Record views