SFL Analysis of Stephen Donaldson’s Writing

The real title should be A Systemic Functional Analysis of a tiny tiny part of Stephen Donaldson’s writing. And considering that his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant spans ten volumes and I’ve only looked at a page or so of two of those, then the title should really be…well you get the point.

I’m sure there are many capable linguistics student’s out there who have the capability to point out my mistakes but that’s o.k. My ‘research’ philosophy has always been: What useful distinctions can I discover that will make a difference? In the case of analysing  prose, specifically from the fantasy fiction genre, I’m looking for distinctions that I can later reproduce,  that may perhaps improve my own writing abilities and/or inspire new directions for research in the field of SFL.  My primary motivation lies in analysing Stephen Donaldson’s writing for the purposes of linguistically describing the change in writing style that he has developed over a specific period of time.

I think the following questions will be useful in my analysis:

How can that change be described using systemic linguistics?

In what specific way has the writing style of novelist Stephen Donaldson changed since he started writing his series of novels known as ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever?’

What are the specific grammatical features of this stylistic change?

Are there any underlying grammatical patterns that the writer uses repeatedly in his work?

Whilst I have raised several questions, the nature of these questions is essentially the same. A description is required of how this author and novelist structures his writing and how that writing has changed over a period of time and presupposed in these questions is also the question: In what ways has the author’s writing remained the same?

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