Dr Sara Whiteley

School of English

Lecturer in English Language and Literature

English Sara Whiteley
sara.whiteley@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 8498

Full contact details

Dr Sara Whiteley
School of English
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield
S3 7RA
Profile

I joined The University of Sheffield as a Lecturer in English Language and Literature in September 2012, having previously taught at the University of Chester.

My research interests lie at the interface between language and literature, in the disciplines of stylistics, cognitive poetics and discourse analysis. My research examines issues of textual effect and interpretation in relation to contemporary prose, poetry and other texts. I am particularly interested in studying the experience of reading and researching reader responses to literary texts using empirical methods.

Research interests

I began my career by researching emotional responses to literature from a cognitive poetic perspective. My doctoral thesis used the Text World Theory framework in order to examine the emotional effects of three novels by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I analysed readers’ emotional responses to the novels by studying reading group discussions and online forums, and used these to inform cognitive poetic theory on emotional response.

Subsequently, I became interested in the nature of reading group discussions and their potential as a source of data for stylisticians interested in literary response. I contributed to the Creative Writing in the Community project (2010) and led the Book of the Festival Project (2013) which both enabled me to record different reading groups discussing the same literary texts. I take a cognitive linguistic approach to the talk, using Text World Theory, and co-authored a book: The Discourse of Reading Groups: Integrating Cognitive and Sociocultural Perspectives (Routledge, 2016). I also co-edited a special issue of the journal Language and Literature about reader response research in stylistics.

My research interests extend beyond literature to the interpretation and effects of a variety of text types. In 2019 I co-authored an article examining the cognitive poetics of ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast. I am a co-investigator on the British Academy funded ‘Linguistic creativity in the discourse of National Trust holiday cottage guestbooks’ project (2017-2019), which examines the inscriptions in guestbooks from a cognitive linguistic perspective. In 2018 I co-authored a textbook in stylistics: Contemporary Stylistics: Language, Cognition, Interpretation (Edinburgh University Press) and I co-edited the Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics with Professor Peter Stockwell (2014).

Most recently, I have been revisiting the works of Kazuo Ishiguro and preparing a monograph on The Language of Kazuo Ishiguro (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan) which combines cognitive and corpus stylistic approaches to his style and its effects on readers.

Publications

Books

  • Whiteley S & Gibbons A (2018) Contemporary Stylistics: Language, Cognition, Interpretation. Edinburgh University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Peplow D, Swann J, Trimarco P & Whiteley S (2015) The Discourse of Reading Groups: Integrating Cognitive and Sociocultural Perspectives. New York: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

  • Stockwell P & Whiteley S (Ed.) (2014) The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Stockwell P & Whiteley S (Ed.) (2014) The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Gavins J & Whiteley S (2019) Creativity and Cognition in the Discourse of National Trust Holiday Cottage Guestbooks In Hart C (Ed.), Cognitive Linguistic Approaches to Text and Discourse: From Poetics to Politics (pp. 54-72). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Whiteley S (2016) A cognitive poetic approach to researching the reading experience In Rothbauer PM, Skjerdingstad KI, McKechnie LEF & Oterholm K (Ed.), Plotting the Reading Experience: Theory, Practice, Politics (pp. 99-114). Ontario, Canada: Wilfred Laurier University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Whiteley S (2016) Building Resonant Worlds: Experiencing the Text-Worlds of The Unconsoled In Gavins J & Lahey E (Ed.), World Building: Discourse in the Mind Bloomsbury Publishing RIS download Bibtex download
  • Whiteley S (2015) Emotion In Sotirova V (Ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics (pp. 507-522). Bloomsbury RIS download Bibtex download
  • Whiteley S (2014) Ethics In Stockwell P & Whiteley S (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 393-407). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Stockwell P & Whiteley S (2014) Introduction In Stockwell P & Whiteley S (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 1-10). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Stockwell P & Whiteley S (2014) Coda: The practice of stylistics In Stockwell P & Whiteley S (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 607-615). RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

Other

  • Canning P & Whiteley S (2017) 'Stylistic approaches to reader response research' (special issue of the journal Language and Literature). Language and Literature, 26, 71-187. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

I welcome enquiries about research projects on:

  • Discourse analysis and stylistics
  • Cognitive poetics
  • Emotion in discourse processing
  • Reader/audience reception
Teaching activities

My main undergraduate teaching responsibilities are on the BA in English Language and Literature degree, where I contribute to several of the degree’s core modules. I also run the optional third-year module ‘Researching Readers’.

At postgraduate level, I contribute to various MA modules across the school and convene the modules 'Literature of the Mind' and ‘Introduction to Literary Linguistics’.