Buddhist lexico-grammar in Golding's Pincher Martin

Andrew P GOATLY, K K SEET (Editor), Peter K W TAN (Editor)

Research output: Working paperWorking paper series


This article uses analysis of lexis and transitivity in William Golding's Pincher Martin to argue the novel can be viewed as a Buddhist fable. It begins by considering the theory of Dependent Origination and demonstrates, through close reading and through lexical concordance data, how the text exemplifies this doctrine. It proceeds to a synoptic analysis of transitivity and nominalisation in two contrasting passages, showing how Pincher successfully constructs an illusory permanent world and personality in which he can become a dominant Agent in Material Process clauses. The final section traces patterns of development of nominalisation, illustrating how qualities are abstracted from memory and reconstituted as the new objects of Pincher's illusory world.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherDepartment of English, National University of Singapore
Number of pages78
ISBN (Print)9789971885342, 9971885344
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameTopics in language and literature : occasional papers series
PublisherNational University of Singapore
ISSN (Print)0218-3285


  • William Golding
  • stylistics
  • systemic functional grammar
  • lexis
  • nominalisation
  • transitivity
  • ergativity
  • buddhism
  • dependent origination


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