Come into My World: Styles of Stance in Detective and Romantic Fiction

Lisa Lena Opas-Hänninen
Department of Foreign Languages
University of Joensuu, Finland
PO Box 111
80101 Joensuu

Fiona Tweedie
Department of Statistics
University of Glasgow
Mathematics Building
University Gardens
GLASGOW, Scotland G12 8QW

This poster presents results of research on popular romance and detective fiction. The predictability of these stories resembles the oral storytelling tradition, i.e. a story already familiar to its readers is being retold over and over again (Radway 1984:198). The reader is not left in suspense of the final outcome of the story; it is the events leading up to it which make each story different. Through these events the reader becomes involved in the emotional life of the romantic heroine or deliberates with the detective over the various clues to the case.

This poster examines how the reader is made privy to emotions, attitudes and thoughts of the protagonist by looking at markers of stance in three types of romantic novels and two types of detective stories. These markers include syntactic and semantic features that express the protagonist's feelings, emotions, moods, etc. Principal components analysis was used to reduce the 12 markers of stance to two dimensions. The results are then compared with Biber and Finegan's (1989) analysis of stance across various text types.


Biber, D. and E. Finegan (1989) "Styles of stance in English: Lexical and grammatical marking of evidentiality and affect," Text, 9(1): 93-124.

Radway, J. A. (1984) Reading the Romance. Chapel-Hill: University of North Carolina Press.