Salient inferences: Pragmatics and the Inheritors

Billy Clark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article considers the role of accounts of inferential processes in the stylistic analysis of texts. It approaches this question by considering the range of contributions an account of inferential processes might make to the stylistic analysis of William Golding's 1955 novel The Inheritors. It considers what such an account might add to insights already provided by previous analyses, including Halliday's famous analysis ('Linguistic Function and Literary Style', 1971) and Hoover's more recent corpus-based work (Language and Style in 'The Inheritors', 1999), both of which say relatively little about inferential processes. This article suggests that an account of inferential processes is in principle a vital part of any adequate account of how texts create effects, even though it is not always practical to offer a detailed account. In some cases, including the case of The Inheritors, the nature of the inferential processes which the text gives rise to makes an important contribution to how we understand and respond to the text.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-212
Number of pages40
JournalLanguage and Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

Cite this