Construing and reconstruing the horrors of the trench: Siegfried Sassoon, creativity and context

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Cognitive Grammar has emerged in recent years to become an established analytical method in cognitive stylistics. Although one of its key affordances is that it provides a robust framework for analysing the different ways in which scenes can be depicted, researchers have yet to develop an account of how Cognitive Grammar can support a detailed analysis of authorial creativity. This paper aims to redress the balance by using Cognitive Grammar to examine the relationship between creativity and the unique situations that give rise to writing in a diary entry and two subsequent rewritings of that entry by the First World War poet and soldier Siegfried Sassoon. The paper combines ideas on contextual constraints with a text-driven, Cognitive Grammar-oriented analysis to demonstrate how a contextualized approach highlights the ways in which Sassoon's writing is motivated by particular physical, social and cultural environments. These include the interaction with and reconfiguration of the material body within the physical setting of the military trench.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Literary Semantics
Issue number1
Early online date26 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0


  • Cognitive Grammar
  • construal
  • context
  • creativity
  • Siegfried Sassoon


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