The article probes the stylistic and intertextual features of H.H. Munro’s (Saki’s) novel «The Unbearable Bassington» (1912), which has not yet been considered from the linguistic point of view The relevance of the research is conditioned by the fact that most of his texts have not been translated into Russian, and by the writer’s interest in Russian history and culture, which makes his work essential in terms of intercultural communication.

The purpose of the paper is three-fold: to reveal the type of lexical connotations prevalent in the text; to analyze the means of expressive syntax used in the novel; and finally, to comment on the links the text demonstrates in relation to the social, historical and aesthetic realia of the Edwardian epoch.

The research is based on the findings of international scholars on the work of H.H. Munro and other authors of the early 20th century (A.J. Langguth, S. Byrne, G.J. Spears, B. Gibson, L.M. Birden, J.S. Salemi, V.S. Pritchett, D. Trotter), and on connotative lexis and expressive syntax (O.S. Akhmanova, O.V. Alexandrova, M.Y. Blokh, G.A. Zolotova, L.V. Polubichenko).

Among the methods applied are linguostylistic and descriptive-analytical analyses, as well as linguostylistic stratification. The following lexical items in the text were investigated: formal and French lexis, proper names, quotations from other literary sources, words semantically pertaining to the topic ‘theatre’. In terms of minor syntax, marked word combinations in deformed proverbs and sayings were analyzed. The study of major syntax was focused on compound sentences with paratactic bonds describing banal, everyday situations.

The results showed that the social connotations found in formal vocabulary and French words prevail in the novel. The less frequent literary and mythological connotations are carried by proper names and quotations. It was established that a typical syntactic trait of the text is using extended compound or complex sentences where the subject and predicate are separated from each other by parentheses containing formal lexis. The text was divided into three “strata” where the marked units mentioned above are present in different proportions.

The article contains parallels with the texts of O. Wilde, R. Firbank, N. Coward, V. Sackville-West, H. James, E. Waugh, J. Conrad.

The results obtained are applicable to further research in linguostylistics, functional stylistics, semantics, and translation studies.

About the authors

M. A. Safonova

Higher School of Economics

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9808-7946

Candidate of Philological Sciences, assistant professor at the Department of Foreign Languages


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