My study is a very specific one and hence has made the task of data collection fairly straight forward. I intend to base my study on the following two texts:
Lord Foul’s Bane, Chapter One:Golden Boy, Book One of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, Paperback Edition Publisher: Del Rey (June 12, 1987), 496 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0345348656, ISBN-13: 978-0345348654
Word Count of first five paragraphs: 337
Against All Things Ending, Chapter One: The Burden of Too Much Time, Book Three of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson 2010, This excerpt created from the final manuscript version of the book, http://www.StephenRDonaldson.com accessed 06/09/2010
Word Count of first four paragraphs: 328
I am using these two specific texts because text 1 is Donaldson’s first book in the aforementioned series and text 2 is Donaldson’s latest book in the same series. There is a twenty three year period between them and Donaldson has written tens of novels since then and has had a lot of time to develop his writing.
Text 1 was originally published in 1977 by Holt Publishing (Donaldson, 2010). Text 2 is unpublished as a hardcopy, yet the first chapter was released on the author’s website in the form of a portable document format file or ‘.pdf’. Text 1 will be copied via manual data entry directly from the aforementioned published paperback version. Text 2 will be cut and paste into a Microsoft Word Document from the ‘pdf’ file. I have taken the liberty to exclude the final paragraph from Text 1, ‘Lord Foul’s Bane’, and include the final paragraph (that spans pages 2 and 3) from Text 2, ‘Against All Things Ending’, so that the word count – for the purposes of the comparative study – becomes more similar between the two texts.
To perform a detailed study within the word limit and scope/focus of my study I have chosen to limit my analysis to the first four or five paragraphs of the first chapter of each book. The additional benefit of this choice is that the first page of a fiction book is usually high impact and attempts to capture the attention of the reader immediately and hence should display some of the writer’s best work and literary abilities. In a larger project perhaps with a wider scope, extracts from a range of the author’s works could be utilised rather than just two extracts I shall be using.
During the conduct of my investigation I realised that in order to achieve some of the aims I made I would have to limit the word count so that a more focussed analysis could be performed. This decision was partly influenced by the work of Hillier (Coffin et al, 2004) on the grammatical comparison between the work of Dickens and Tarner. A thorough analysis of noun modification would be verbose and to give justice to the topic would require a more focussed study on a smaller text as Hillier did.
(All references shall be provided at the end of the series of articles.)