This paper demonstrates that book blurbs position the book as product and inform potential readers about the content and quality of the book. They promote and market the book from the shelves and are therefore intended to make it attractive to buy. This is the rationale behind the generic structure of book blurbs, the text-types selected, and the constraints on style and content. Specifically, back-cover blurbs from fictional texts only seem to share the Identification and the Endorsement moves, with quality-attributing sentences representing the basic text idiom. Related to this, narratives are optional and descriptions (if present at all) merge into characterizations and evaluations, whereby the writer takes an explicit, voluntary stance with respect to the book. Most importantly, characterizations of people and settings via contextual antonyms seem to be a defining property of book blurbs (cf. sweaty, fetid; finest nose, no personal odour). Lexical resources chiefly construct attitudinal evaluation in terms of appreciation and, second, judgement. The type of evaluation expressed is clearly constrained by genre. This means that book blurbs as a promotional genre are a rich source of intensifying devices: novelty and creativity of the lexical device and degree of semantic intensification help appeal to the reader and foreground the relevant assets of different types of read. Hyperbole is therefore a function of the promotional use of book blurbs, which, however, appears to be restricted to words constructing ‘value’. Implicit superlatives (e.g. wonderful), repetitions (e.g. funny, funny), and predicate-intensifier collocations in which the intensifier conveys different degrees of intensification and different types and degrees of expressivity (e.g. screamingly funny; read-out-loud-to-complete-strangers funny) are most often felt to be too weak. As such, they tend to combine together and with other devices, e.g. metaphorical expressions, so as to creatively express strong intensification. Next to graduation, however, accumulation of words which are not usually found together also plays a crucial role in making the book attractive to buy. This prompts the prospective reader to qualify the book as a first-rate choice with respect to all the relevant dimensions along which it is possible to create the need for a desirable read (e.g. fun, wisdom and truth).
|Data di pubblicazione:||2007|
|Titolo:||From narratives to intensification and hyperbole: promotional uses of book blurbs|
|Data del convegno:||27-30 July 2007|
|Nome del convegno:||M. Davies, P. Rayson, S. Hunston, P. Danielsson: Corpus Linguistics 2007|
|Luogo del convegno:||Birmingham, UK|
|Titolo del libro:||Proceedings of the Corpus Linguistics Conference. CL 2007|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Relazione in Atti di Convegno|
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