chapter  4
11 Pages

Austin and Searle Together and Apart

This chapter considers what students of literature have taken from Searle's work and how he has himself addressed literary topics. Although Searle has suggested that literary critics always get it wrong, his own work gets it right often enough to deserve a chapter in this study of speech acts in literary criticism. Searle's most serviceable refinement of Austin is his systematization of speech-act types, which substitutes a five-part schema for the complex classification Austin tentatively put forward in the last of the lectures collected in How to Do Things with Words. Almost all critics who have looked at the different kinds of illocution represented in literature have taken Searle's schema over Austin's list, for the advantages are multiple. Despite Austin's refusal of the simple situations envisaged in logical theory, Searle takes them as the starting point for his explanation of how to do things with words.