Society through Literature
I will propose that literature can be studied from a socio-linguistic point of view, by analyzing certain socio-linguistic variables of the text. The goal of such analysis is two fold: on one side it allows for an objective study of the text, i.e. with no reference to the author’s life and circumstances, and on the other side it allows to infer a description of the author’s interpretation of his/her society.
I will then proceed to analyze a novel by Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar, Los Premios, from a socio-linguistic point of view, by studying some linguistic variables, such as the use of che by the characters in the novel, as well as their social background and relations within the story. I will then show that this analysis leads to a social description of the microcosm within which the characters live and interact. I will also show that from this description we can infer the conception the author has of his society, of its various groups and classes as well as of its men and women.
Keywords: Literature, Society, Socio-Linguistic Analysis, Argentina, Cortazar
Dr. Francesco D'Introno
Visiting Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan