Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Framing Significance in John Banville's The Book of Evidence

Abstract : John Banville's The Book of Evidence has been hailed as an existentialist novel whose anti-hero tries to make sense of a meaningless murder through his retrospective confession. The notions of intentional action and illocutionary act run parallel in the novel, through the embedded intrigues of Freddy's crimes and his convoluted, unreliable narrative. Banville addresses the problem of meaning through a philosophy of linguistic action based on intentionality, but he also pits the notion of authorial responsibility against that of the intrinsic power of the work of art, in the form of the mysterious Dutch painting which prompts Freddy's killing rage. This article examines the question of intentional meaning in The Book of Evidence through Banville's recurring metaphor of the frame, from the linguistic perspective of Frame semantics. In the novel, the ambiguous first-person narrator is both an author burdened with the consciousness of his criminal and manipulative intent, and an aimless drifter subjected to linguistic, cultural and social frames he cannot escape, even after he commits the ultimate transgression. The Book of Evidence finally presents us with a series of jarring frames, through its constant meta-narrative irony, so that its self-proclaimed indictment of the author is ultimately a testimony to the complexity of fiction. ~ The
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Administrateur Hal Nanterre <>
Submitted on : Monday, November 20, 2017 - 4:23:03 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 10:03:17 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01639935, version 1


Flore Coulouma. Framing Significance in John Banville's The Book of Evidence. L'Atelier, Presses universitaires Paris Ouest, 2013, 5 (2), pp.29--44. ⟨hal-01639935⟩



Record views