In Conversation with Jonah: Conversation Analysis, Literary Criticism and the Book of Jonah (Google eBook)
The author analyses the various conversations that occur between the characters in the Jonah narrative and the 'conversation' that occurs between the text and its readers. The study opens with an introduction to the field of conversation analysis, with a focus on one feature of conversation analysis-that a fundamental structure in the organization of language is adjacency pairs (for example, question/answer and invitation/refusal). Person notes how complex the adjacency pairs in the Jonah narrative are, and shows how they contribute to the narrative elements of plot, characterization, atmosphere and tone. He then refines reader-response theory (especially that of Wolfgang Iser) and provides a reader-response commentary on the book. The study ends with an analysis of the history of the interpretation of the book of Jonah, demonstrating how the structures of adjacency pairs in the narrative have been successfully and unsuccessfully interpreted.
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