Eteroglossia e prospettiva nella ricostruzione degli eventi storici. Le strategie degli Historical Plays di Shakespeare e della stampa odierna


Abstract – In the Elizabethan period, historical plays were a very popular form of representation in English theatres. Shakespeare wrote several historical plays and seven of them are based on the history of England and, in particular, on the lives of some English kings who lived between 1377 and 1485. Of particular interest for the present analysis, particularly from a linguistic perspective, are two of his last plays, Henry IV and Henry V, which can be interpreted according to the Bakhtian notion of ‘heteroglossia’ (1981). The different social voices, linguistic registers, as well as the different and contrasting emotions which are revealed in the alternating dialogues and monologues, constitute the main feature of the historical reconstruction carried out by Shakespeare. These strategies allow the author to create a new and original perspective on the narrated events. Nowadays, the daily reconstruction of historical events is carried out by newspapers, which select national and international events turning them into ‘news’. The analysis described in this chapter aims to identify whether and how heteroglossia is at the basis of contemporary historical reconstructions, as in Shakespeare’s plays, and if these accounts are influenced by a change of perspective due to the cultural context in which they are produced. With this in mind, two corpora of British and Italian newspaper articles (from The Independent, The Guardian, Il Corriere della Sera, and La Repubblica) have been assembled. The most frequent linguistic elements have been analysed, along with their grammatical categories and the semantic fields that they can be grouped into. Results suggest that news language is a socially and culturally connotated event which, through different social voices, is able to create a multiplicity of social perspectives, thus revealing many similarities with the way Shakespeare used heteroglossia to describe historical events.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v27p307

Keywords: newslanguage; heteroglossia; cross-cultural analysis; corpus linguistics; social voices; cultural perspectives


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