ADRIAN STRIKES BACK WITH STYLE AND HUMOUR
University of Madeira, Portugal
More than half of Adrian’s diary entries (by Sue Townsend, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1999) encompass two decades of the protagonist’s maturing process and existence, in a working class setting. These cover different periods of the British History and socio-political events: from Margaret Thatcher’s takeover to Tony Blair’s government. Indeed, Adrian finds it difficult to conform to a way of life which he holds up as trivial. Besides, “Englishness” has acquired, in his unexpected conservative stance, a multicultural dimension for much of Adrian’s disenchantment. Therefore, he is fiercely committed to preserve the all-British standards, evidenced in his behaviour and discursive practices, by means of a witty dialogue, irony, hyperbole, and parody.
The aim of this paper is to bring to the fore some of the protagonist’s socio-cultural references and stylistic choices which challenge readers with humorously “unusual and unexpected events to the ‘maps of meaning’ (Hall et al., 1978: 54-55), that already form the basis of their cultural knowledge” of everyday language. Readers identify strings of continuity, on the one hand, and of rupture between the scheming of the old empires and the new goals of global capitalism, on the other. Perhaps Townsend’s premise against life’s “alogical” course of events led her to create a fictional character for whom humour may be suggestive of “a certain ideal image of the world” (Critchley 2002: 87-90).
Key words: Carnivalisation; Defamiliarisation; Uncrowning; Style; Satire.
Alderson, C., & Bachean, L. (Eds.) (2000). Assessing reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Basnett, S. (1997). Studying British cultures. An introduction. London: Routledge.
Bell, A. (1984). Language style as audience design. Language in Society, 13, 145-204.
Bouchard, D. (Ed.) (1974/1980). Language, counter-memory, practice: Selected essays and interviews by Michel Foucault. New York: Cornell University Press.
Carter, R. (Ed.) (1999). Literature and language awareness. Language Awareness. 8(1). Exeter: Multilingual Matters.
Crawford, R. (1992). Devolving English literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Critchley, S. (2002). On humour. London and New York: Routledge.
Critchley, S. (2002). Ethics, politics and radical democracy: A history of a disagreement. Culture Machine, 4. Retrieved May 25, 2008, from http://www.culturemachine.net/index.php/cm/article/view/267/252.
Fothergill, R. (1974). Private chronicles. A study of English diaries. London: Oxford University Press.
Foucault, M. (1993/1999). Space, power and knowledge. In S. During (Ed.), The cultural studies reader (2nd ed., pp. 134-141). London and New York: Routledge.
Fowler, R. (1986/1996). Linguistic criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Habermas, J. (1995). Justification and application: Remarks on discourse ethics (C. Cronin, Trans.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
Hall, S. (1980/1996). Cultural studies and the centre: Some problematics and problems. In S. Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, & P. Willis (Eds.), Culture, media, language. Working papers in cultural studies (pp. 15-47). London and New York: Routledge / The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham.
Holquist, M. (Ed.) (1981/1998). The dialogic imagination: Four essays by M. Bakhtin. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Hutcheon, L. (1995). Irony’s edge: The theory and politics of irony. London: Routledge.
Kress, G. (1997). Multimodal texts and Critical Discourse Analysis. In E. Pedro (Ed.), Proceedings of the first international conference on discourse analysis (pp. 367-383). Lisbon: Edições Colibri.
McCracken, S. (1998). Pulp: Reading popular fiction. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
McRae, J. (1991). Literature with a small “l”. London: Macmillan.
McLean, M. (1997). Out of the closet and onto the bookshelves: Images of gays and lesbians in young adult literature. In T. Rogers, & A.O. Soter (Eds.). Reading across cultures: Teaching literature in a diverse society (pp. 178-198). New York: Teachers College Press.
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Olson, P. (Ed.) (1921/1965). Russian formalist criticism - Four essays (L. Lemon, & M. Reis, Trans.). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Said, E. (1984). The world, the text and the critic. MA, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Said, E. (1994). Culture and imperialism. Reading: Vintage.
Said, E. (1995). Orientalism - Western conceptions of the Orient. London: Penguin.
Simpson, P. (2002). A stylistic model for satirical discourse. In Plenary talks: Titles and Abstracts, available at http://www.english.bham.ac.uk/pala2002/plenary_talks.htm. (paper delivered at PALA 22, Birmingham, 2002).
Simpson, P. (2003). The discourse of satire: Towards a stylistic model of satirical humour. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Townsend, S. (1982). The secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾. London: Mandarin.
Townsend, S. (1989). True confessions of Adrian Albert Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend. London: Mandarin.
Townsend, S. (1999). Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino years. London: Penguin.
Wales, K. (1989/1997). A dictionary of stylistics. London: Longman.
Watson, S. (1998). A writer’s diary. Cape Town: Queillerie Publishers.
Williams, R. (1958/1993). Culture & society. London: The Hogarth Press.
Usher, R., & Edwards, R. (1994). Postmodernism and education. London: Routledge.
How To Cite This Article: Sousa, A. (2009). Adrian Strikes back with Style and Humour. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – Jolie, 2(2), 277-292. DOI: https://doi.org/10.29302/jolie.2009.2.2.27
For details on subscription, go to: http://jolie.uab.ro/index.php?pagina=-&id=19&l=en