Taking Collaborative Stances to Tell the Story. A Socio-linguistic Approach to Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down


Heidelberg University


In the present study, I seek to examine narrative in consideration of three of its most important dimensions: the social (others’ narratives), the cognitive (acquisition of knowledge through stories), and the linguistic (acquiring and producing knowledge through language). There is no point of contention that ‘narrative’ is essentially communicative and dependent on a sociolinguistic and cultural context. Yet, with regard to fictional narratives, recent studies on text processing challenge the view of text as communication in its conventional sense. I explore the way(s) in which fictional worlds communicate from the constructivist standpoint and set out to develop the notion of narratorial stance. I then make use of the concept in the close reading section of the paper in order to examine and exemplify the modes in which Hornby’s homodiegetic narrators represent themselves and the others in their ‘turn-at-talk’ or stance-taking acts.

Keywords: (narrative) communication, narratorial stance, stance taking, plurality, intersubjectivity, socio-linguistics