The Meaning of Paper in the Novel – A Multimodal Stylistic Approach

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Adding multimodal tools to the stylistic tool kit enables us – and, I’d argue, even invites us – to analyse not only the written verbal narrative and whatever use it makes of e.g. images and special typography, but also material elements such as the paper, printing and binding of the novel. Nevertheless, the materiality of the novel has not yet been investigated much by multimodal stylisticians. This presentation explores the meaning-making potential of paper in the novel and considers how this semiotic resource may be systematised within a multimodal stylistic framework. The examples scrutinised include relatively conventional choices of paper as well as novels which display a far more creative use of this semiotic resource.

Kress, Gunther and van Leeuwen, Theo (1996). Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. 1st ed. London and New York: Routledge.
Kress, Gunther and van Leeuwen, Theo (2001). Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. London: Arnold.
Mourier, Mette and Mourier, Eric (1999). Bogdesign. Tilrettelægning af illustrerede bøger. København: Den Gafiske Højskole/Forlaget Grafisk Litteratur. (About book design)
Nørgaard, Nina (forthcoming, 2018). Multimodal Stylistics of the Novel. More than Words. London and New York: Routledge.
Nørgaard, Nina (2014). “Multimodality and Stylistics”, in Michael Burke (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. UK: Routledge.

Period26. Jul 2018
Event titleAnnual Conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association
Event typeConference
LocationUnited Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • multimodal stylistics
  • paper
  • the novel
  • semiotic mode