PERCEPTION OF COHERENCE IN CONTEMPORARY SHORT FICTION
Authors: Oxana CREANGA
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Coherence is one of the basic structural and pragmatic principles of textual organization. Contemporary literary narratives display a range of strategies and narrative techniques that defy the canons of coherence and preclude the comprehension of the text. Drawing on an interdisciplinary approach that combines text linguistics, cognitive and narrative concerns, the study reviews the principles of text coherence, i.e. the standards of time, intention, goal, causality, thematic unity and continuity, and focuses on the levels, subtypes and degrees of coherence in the flash story “Haircut” by Lydia Copeland. It explores the impact of narrative aspects and categories, such as achrony, fragmentariness, types of discourses, and narrative situation, on the reader’s mental contribution in perceiving local and global coherence in the course of interpreting the narrative. Finally, it argues that establishing coherence in flash texts relies on the receiver’s cooperativeness and narrative implicature, his/her background knowledge and ability to detect ellipsis, retrieve contextually relevant information, and draw inferences.