Blurring Polyphonic Voices in Katherine Mansfield’s Short Story “The Singing Lesson”

Nadia Konstantini


This article pays tribute to Ferdinand de Saussure’s contribution to the study of literature. De Saussure’s idea that the linguistic sign is a combination between sound images and concepts and that their relationship is arbitrary (De Saussure, 1916) is my starting point to explore Katherine Mansfield’s particular way to combine both music and meaning in order to reveal different, and often opposed, levels of consciousness in the characters of her short story “The Singing Lesson”.  The study is based on a structuralist analysis (Genette, 1972, 1983) of sound and meaning in Mansfield’s short story as it highlights transgressive narrative structures leading to blurring polyphonic voices and discloses the provoking and dual relationship between music and meaning in The singing Lesson”.





Contrapuntal music, Narrative mood, Polyphony, Structuralism

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