Busse, B, McIntyre, D, Nørgaard, N and Toolan, M (2010) John McGahern’s stylistic and narratological art. Lexis, 5. pp. 101-131.

The Irish writer John McGahern is acknowledged as a master stylist in both his novels and his
short stories. In this article we discuss the stylistic and narratological factors that contribute to
the artistry in McGahern’s short story writing. We analyse three stories: “A Slip-up”, “All
Sorts of Impossible Things”, and “Creatures of the Earth”, using a combination of qualitative
and quantitative methodologies. The stylistic devices that we concentrate on are speech and
thought presentation, negative polarity, lexico-semantic foregrounding, prospection and
projection, collocation and semantic prosody, and keyness. We argue that by analysing these
devices it is possible to gain an insight into the way in which McGahern draws the reader into
his stories and generates empathetic responses to his characters. Consequently, these stylistic
techniques may be seen as integral to McGahern’s style as a writer.

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