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The Dramatic Arc of the Theory of FSP: A Tentative Diachronic Excursion

Abstract

The theory of functional sentence perspective (FSP) and its research methods have been considered one of the prominent tools of discourse analysis and information processing. It is widely known that, combining the approaches adopted both by formalists and functionalists, the theory of FSP draws on the findings presented by the scholars of the Prague Circle. The father of FSP himself - Jan Firbas - drew on the findings of his predecessor, Vilem Mathesius, who formulated the basic principles of what was to be labelled FSP only later. Apart from the principal FSP representatives and more recent followers (as a rule associated with Prague or Brno universities), this homage paper overviews somewhat less familiar - yet significant - pioneers in the field of theories of information structure, viz. Henri Weil, Samuel Brassai, Georg von der Gabelentz and Anton Marty. It will discuss some of their writings and achievements that were forming (and inspiring) the theory of FSP.

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Gender, Humour and Transgression in Canadian Women’s Theatre

Abstract

Are humour and laughter gender-specific? The simple answer, like most everything that is ideological, is “yes”. Many feminists in recent years have grappled with the question of humour and how it is often the site of much contestation when it comes to women using it as a tool of transgression. This paper probes the seemingly timeless antipathy between humour and representations of femininity through recourse to performance and theories of the body. This article holds the term “woman” up to scrutiny while simultaneously examining the persistence of both critical and philosophical recalcitrance and the way humour continues to function in both gendered and violent ways. How does gender “do” or “undo” humour? Laughter is no simple matter for women, due to the legacy of profoundly polarized and hyper-sexualized historical ambivalence between femininity and laughter. Acknowledging the problematic nature of the category “woman”, and after clearing some terminological distinctions (comedy, humour, irony, satire, and parody), this article investigates humour’s complicated and volatile relationship to gender and the way the laughing body of women on stage presents a fascinating double helix of sexual aggression and power

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