Cognitive Grammar and reconstrual:Re-experiencing Margaret Atwood's 'The Freeze-Dried Groom'


This chapter examines the cognitive and experiential processes of re-reading, and their contribution to the conceptualisation of a fictional world. Fictional worlds are experienced dynamically, and often in multiple sittings, separated by varying lengths of time. While the myriad of contextual factors which distinguish sittings makes re-reading a difficult object of study, this aspect of our natural, everyday encounters with texts is worthy of consideration in stylistic discussion. As a first step in this direction, this chapter demonstrates an awareness of multiple readings, and the distinct experiences they represent, as part of a cognitive stylistic account of textual interpretation. Firstly, a theoretical account of re-reading is outlined in terms of Cognitive Grammar and, in particular, its concept of construal. This account is demonstrated through analysis of the short story ‘The Freeze-Dried Groom’ from Margaret Atwood’s 2014 collection Stone Mattress. Applying Cognitive Grammar's multidimensional model of construal, and a further process of reconstrual, we make specific predictions concerning readers’ experiences of this story’s fictional world on a first- and second-reading, looking in particular at changing conceptualisations of tone, atmosphere and narrative perspective, and the linguistic processing responsible. Based on this analytical case study, we propose a need for further investigation of texts which surprise readers, or which feature a twist or reveal, and the ways in which information is attended to across multiple readings.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Language Research at Aston (CLaRA)
Additional Information: This is the author's final accepted version. This publication is © John Benjamins. See further details at
ISBN: 9789027202017, 9789027263032
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 08:32
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2018 13:45
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Related URLs: https://benjami ... /catalog/lal.32 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Chapter (peer-reviewed)
Published Date: 2019-02-21
Accepted Date: 2018
Authors: Harrison, Chloe (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9963-3208)
Nuttall, Louise



Version: Accepted Version

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