Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English

Volume 17 – The Pragmatics and Stylistics of Identity Construction and Characterisation

Article Contents

1. Introduction and objectives

2. Historical genre analysis, the practice of citation and the genre of the lecture

3. Identity, individuality and interaction through citation

3.1 Identity construction through language and discourse

3.2 Presentation of Hyland’s (2000) model

3.3 Application and adaptation of the model

4. Analysis of citation in The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century

4.1 Average citations per paper and number of citations per 1,000 words

4.2 Surface forms of citation: Non-integral forms

4.3 Surface Forms of Citation: Integral Forms

4.3.1 Integral forms: Non-subject citations

4.3.2 Integral forms: Subject citations

4.3.3 Integral forms: Noun-phrase citations

5. Conclusions



Interactive Strategies in Victorian Academic Discourse: Citation in J. Ruskin’s The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (1884)

Daniela Francesca Virdis
University of Cagliari


This article analyses the Victorian writer J. Ruskin’s expression of identity in the written version of his academic lectures The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (1884). His identity as a distinguished scholar emerges particularly from his interaction with the authors and works he cites in his text. The article therefore presents a quantitative and qualitative examination of the citation practices in the lectures, which are studied as an example of Late Modern academic discourse, by applying Hyland’s (2000) model of citation to the instances in the text. Background information is also provided on historical genre analysis, identity construction, the presentation and application of Hyland’s model and of the different categories and sub-categories of citation. Linguistic and discursive investigation of the lectures demonstrates that citations are used to give both positive and negative evaluations of the work of other authors. Above all, they are the main interactive strategy deployed by Ruskin to construct his own professional identity and to confirm his reputation as an eminent academic and public figure.

1. Introduction and objectives

In his entire life and works, the Victorian art critic and social theorist John Ruskin (1819–1900; for a photograph taken in 1882, see Image 1) committed himself to analysing the social and aesthetic issue of the relation of the self to natural and urban space and their intimate connection (Wheeler 1995). One of his final writings is the environmentally conscious The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (Ruskin 2012 [1884]), which consists of two academic lectures delivered at the London Institution on February 4 and 11, 1884. [1] Moving from Ruskin’s own personal experience and accurately recorded meteorological observations, the lectures discuss atmospheric pollution and the effects of industrialisation on nature and the climate, and express the scholar’s worries about long-term environmental damage; they also criticise Victorian science and “scientific people”, especially the physicist John Tyndall (1820–1893). As the writer himself points out in the preface to the lectures (SC: 15), when they appeared in print, they were dismissed and held up to scorn by the press. This was also because he takes on a biblical prophetic language and apocalyptic tone, and describes the natural phenomena under discussion as a devilish mixture of smoke and damp (Cook & Wedderburn 1908: xxiv). Subsequently, they have been regarded as prefiguring contemporary concerns for environmental protection, so much so that they are now reckoned to be among the very first warnings about climate change (Brimblecombe 2012).

Image 1. A photograph of John Ruskin taken in 1882 (Ruskin 1908: iv).

Image 1. A photograph of John Ruskin taken in 1882 (Ruskin 1908: iv).

In the written version of the oral lectures, Ruskin utilised non-fictional prose and its persuasive strategies. In order to examine non-fictional prose as a genre, it is useful to take into consideration Short’s (1996: 39) prototypical discourse situation or structure of texts, where an addresser (a speaker or writer) conveys a message (a sentence, utterance, or entire text) to an addressee (a listener or reader). [2] Consequently, as can be easily inferred, in the apparently non-dialogic text type of non-fictional prose a researcher or scholar, by means of an article or short treatise, constructs a dialogic structure and addresses a reader to communicate a militant message and to persuade that reader of their views and opinions. [3]

The interactive strategies deployed by various writers to directly address their readers have been recently identified by historical pragmatics. Among others, at a macrolinguistic level, these strategies include historical genre analysis and, at a microlinguistic level, such devices as discourse markers, address terms, interjections and expletives. [4] Within the aims and scope of historical pragmatics, in this article I will study a frequent and pervasive tool in the Victorian prose of The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century. Such a tool is citation, which allows the lecturer-writer to create a dialogic structure between himself and his fellow scholars on the one hand, and between himself and his listeners-readers on the other hand.

In academic discourse, citation can be defined as both the action of citing or quoting a written passage and the passage thus cited. In the book serving as the model for the research in this article, Hyland (2000: 20) calls citation “academic attribution” and glosses it as “one of the most important realisations of the academic writer’s concern for interactions with an audience: that of reporting, or attributing propositional content to another source”. Hence, citation is an interaction between the person citing, or the “writer”, and the person cited, or the “author”; this helpful terminological convention was introduced by Thompson & Ye (1991), observed by Hyland (2000) and is also adhered to here. In his book, this scholar distinguishes the various categories available to writers to represent the work of authors and to refer to sources, namely non-integral citation, integral citation and the three sub-categories of the latter. The research presented here is founded on the linguistic and discursive study of these categories, which are accordingly defined and discussed in the analytical sections below. He also provides a classification of the distinct types of citation writers can select from:

Choices here largely concern the extent to which the report duplicates the original language event, the options being use of short direct quotes (up to six or eight words), extensive use of original wording set as indented blocks, summary from a single source, or generalisation, where material is ascribed to two or more authors. (Hyland 2000: 26)

Because of the large number of citations it includes, The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century is very heterogeneous from a text type standpoint; actually, citation makes the lectures a mosaic of various text types. The text contains 49 instances of block quotes graphologically marked from the body text: several letters from Ruskin’s correspondents; lines from English and Greek poems and from the Bible; excerpts from other scholars’ works and from his own; letters to newspapers; extracts from his diary. [5] Whilst the lectures including all the block quotes add up to around 25,130 words, the text excluding the block quotes only adds up to approximately 16,770 words. The block quotes are hence composed of about 8,360 words and are relatively long (their average length is 171 words): this means that one third of the entire text consists of block quotes. In addition, the lectures comprise 145 clauses or sentences which either introduce the 49 occurrences of block quote or are realised by shorter quotes, summaries from a single source or generalisations from two or more sources. Therefore, citation and intertextuality, two characteristic features of academic discourse, are among the most foregrounded constitutive attributes of the lectures and, as such, are relevant to their general contents and, most of all, to their overall interactive structure.

Consequently, my main research purpose in this article is to investigate the lectures as instances of Late Modern academic discourse by taking into account the discursive feature of citation, namely the diverse categories of citation in the lectures and the clauses and sentences presenting the block quotes. To be more exact, by means of a quantitative and above all qualitative analysis of the citation practices in the text, I will scrutinise in what ways the lecturer-writer makes use of the interactive tool of citation to construct his own scholarly identity in the genre of the academic lecture. Furthermore, given the dialogic structure resulting from its use, I will examine how citation is employed in this non-dialogic text to interact with the authors and works cited, thereby ‘steering’ the listeners-readers and convincing them of the writer’s perspective.

The analytical part of the article (Section 4) consists mainly of a qualitative examination of representative citations from the lectures. These data from Late Modern academic discourse were first retrieved from the text then studied by applying Hyland’s (2000) model of academic citation and citation categories, which were developed to investigate data from contemporary academic research papers. The analysis is introduced by a scrutiny of the average citations per paper and the number of citations per 1,000 words (Section 4.1). Afterwards, citation categories are examined, firstly non-integral citation (4.2) and integral citation in general (4.3). Finally, the three sub-categories of integral citation are investigated; i.e. non-subject citation (4.3.1), subject citation (4.3.2) and noun-phrase citation (4.3.3). The analytical part is preceded and contextualised by an introduction to the theories and methodologies of historical genre analysis and of academic discourse (Section 2), and by a discussion of identity construction and of Hyland’s model (Section 3).

2. Historical genre analysis, the practice of citation and the genre of the lecture

As mentioned in Section 1, in this article the two lectures constituting The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century will be investigated by taking their genre and the discursive strategy of citation into consideration. This investigation will be undertaken by comparing historical evidence from the Late Modern lectures with the evidence from contemporary academic discourse provided by Hyland’s model (see Section 3.2). When dealing with genre analysis, Jucker and Taavitsainen (2013: 149), following Biber’s (1988) model, distinguish between genre and text type: “[i]n this two-tier model the term ‘genre’ refers to classifications according to external sociocultural evidence and ‘text type’ according to internal linguistic features of a text”. More precisely, genres, a theoretical concept first elaborated in literary studies, categorise texts into diverse types according to their formal or functional characteristics. They are communicative schemata founded on conventions and expectations which arrange experience and knowledge by means of language, and whose linguistic realisations change and are renewed in time. Hence, they are social and cultural constructs determined by temporal and sociocultural variables, and flexible means readily adjustable to new communicative contexts and to the emerging requirements of those engaged in interaction. For these reasons, genres steer the way texts should be and are actually produced by their addressers and interpreted and made sense of by their addressees; in a word, they are essential meaning-making discursive devices (Swales 1990 and 2004).

With regard to genre analysis from the viewpoint of historical linguistics, as asserted by Moessner (2001: 138), “the classification of texts [into genres and text types], literary and non-literary, is an essential prerequisite for any description of a language at a given period as well as for the description of linguistic change”. With special regard to English historical pragmatics, Jucker and Taavitsainen (2013: 148) note that the objective of the field is to identify inventories of genres in the history of this language, along with their linguistic and discursive traits. According to Pahta and Taavitsainen (2010: 568), historical genre analysis primarily examines the following phenomena: how genre conventions are created; how genre structures are influenced and modified by the changing sociocultural requirements of their discourse communities (people sharing texts and practices); how writers decided, over time, to convey knowledge to their diverse readers for diverse reasons. In short, the main aim and scope of historical genre analysis is to investigate how genres and social activities are closely interrelated.

Although genres are dynamic systems featuring change and variation, the basic principle in historical genre analysis is that many, if not most, of their core communicative functions and textual elements are usually consistent across centuries. The stable prototypical properties of genres make them recognisable as such in a long diachrony to both their discourse communities and the researchers scrutinising them. [6] In Jucker and Taavitsainen’s (2013: 147) words, “[g]enres show different realisations in different periods, but more prototypical features may remain constant in a long diachronic perspective, and genres differ in their rates of change”. Hence, the main academic attribute of Ruskin’s lectures, namely the conventional structural characteristic of citation, will be investigated here by applying the theoretical framework and the methodology developed by studies on academic genres and discourse. [7]

The lectures will be scrutinised as instances of Late Modern or nineteenth-century written academic discourse. In those decades, Latin had already lost its long-standing function as the lingua franca of European scientific discourse, so that, in the early twentieth century, English, French and German were competing for the position of the new lingua franca of science. Latin had kept its function for several centuries, even after the seventeenth century, when vernacular languages started to emerge as its rivals. At that time, English and French became publicly recognised as scientific languages thanks to the foundation of the first academic journals written in those languages in 1665, The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (printed in London) and Le Journal des Savants (printed in Paris). Their publication considerably influenced not only the ‘nationalisation’ of scientific discourse, but also new genres of scientific communication now firmly established, such as research articles, experimental reports and book reviews (Pahta & Taavitsainen 2010: 557). To be more exact, The Philosophical Transactions “carries the main line of the development of scientific journal writing in English through the nineteenth century” (Bazerman 1988: 63).

Broadly speaking, and despite notable exceptions, in the eighteenth century major scientific research and results appeared in monograph form. In the nineteenth century the preferred form had become the journal; however, at the end of the century, a number of journals still published book reviews and presented those books as important contributions to ongoing scientific research (Bazerman 1988: 80–81). Nineteenth- and twentieth-century scientific discourse saw the advent of what Bazerman (1988: 126–127) defines as “integrative machinery”; that is to say: a methodical presentation of theoretical arguments; the elaboration and eventual stabilisation of complex genres with their codified norms and negotiative processes; the modern practice of citation and embedding of other authors’ findings. The nineteenth century, in particular, was characterised by new alterations in the empirical practice of science in Europe and the Americas; and by a reorganisation and multiplication of disciplines which, consequently, turned more and more distant from each other and created their own professional procedures, institutions and communication dynamics (Bazerman 1988: 154).

Diachronic research in historical academic discourse and in English for Specific Purposes (Bazerman 1988: 164–167; Salager-Meyer 1999) has proven that citation practices are one of the features of Late Modern academic writing which have been modified most. The eighteenth century was typified by the occurrence of casual and non-codified instances of citation. In the nineteenth century, more formal and systematised forms of citation began to develop, along with the interactive strategy of connecting the work including them to current research and theory and the academic network. As Bazerman claims,

Comparisons of eighteenth-century and current practices […] strongly suggest that major changes occurred in the nineteenth century in the way scientific texts referred to and relied on each other. The emergence of modern citation practices is the most visible, but not necessarily the most fundamental, product of the development of implicit and explicit intertextuality in nineteenth-century scientific communication. Studies of nineteenth-century scientific writing would do well to take on the question of changing institutions of intertextuality. (Bazerman 1988: 154)

Actually, alterations in citation practices might be evidence to suggest a high rate of change in linguistic and discursive realisations and in the formation of genre conventions, not least because of such sociocultural factors as new media and changing professional practices. Such practices include publishing original research in highly contextualised communicative products like academic journals, which are regularly produced and received and which exhibit conventionalised language use and extremely specialised review procedures. In the analytical sections of this article, the citations in the written version of Ruskin’s Late Modern lectures will be compared with the contemporary written research papers in several scholarly and professional disciplines collected in a corpus built and examined by Hyland (2000). This comparison will confirm that major modifications emerge despite the relatively short diachrony (see Section 4). [8].

As for the academic genre of the lecture, recent research on historical genre analysis (Friesen 2011) showed that this genre has altered considerably, even radically, in the eight hundred years of its history. As suggested by its origin from the Old French or Medieval Latin noun lectura (OED), at first, in the early Middle Ages, when books were a scarce and jealously guarded commodity, the lecture was a practice of “cultural preservation” (Friesen 2011: 96–97). It consisted of a male scholar reading from or dictating an authoritative text to his students, while the notion of making observations on the text was unknown. This procedure did not change much with the advent of mechanical movable type printing in the 1450s, although the invention dramatically increased the quantity of books made available to students and the educated. However, while lectures were still being given by scholars reading aloud from books, such a redundant function slowly started to be challenged.

In the early modern period, a first modification was introduced. Scholars used to write their glosses or commentary into the margins of the texts they read during the lectures. When those scholars were particularly renowned, their colleagues would read their glosses along with the textbook. In the middle of the seventeenth century, this custom had gradually led to lectures which were partly constituted by reading and dictation, and partly by explanation and interpretation. In the 1790s, at the University of Jena, one of the first German scholars to give lectures without a set textbook was the Romantic philosopher J. G. Fichte (1762–1814). He did not read from or comment on books written by other authors, but presented the theories and hypotheses he had elaborated himself in his works. This was a ground-breaking move from the medieval lecture based on the authority of the text to the Romantic one based on the lecturer’s charisma, words and ideas creating knowledge in the lecture hall: the lecture had become the practice of “authorial performance” (Friesen 2011: 97). Fichte thus introduced creativity and originality into the genre of the academic lecture, two essential aspects Ruskin makes full use of in The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century, as shown in the analytical sections below.

3. Identity, individuality and interaction through citation

3.1 Identity construction through language and discourse

In Hyland’s (2000) model of academic citation, this professional practice is a linguistic and discursive indicator of the writer’s individuality and identity. Drawing on different but complementary research traditions within sociocultural linguistics, Bucholtz and Hall (2010) recently provided an interdisciplinary framework to examine identity as an intersubjective accomplishment constructed by linguistic interaction and to study its varied and complex dimensions. They define identity as a changing discursive phenomenon constantly shaped by an individual’s interpersonal relations, society and culture emerging in interaction and communication; in a word, “identity is the social positioning of self and other” (Bucholtz & Hall 2010: 18). Their framework is composed of five principles.

The first principle, emergence, states that identity is not a pre-existing source of language housed inside the individual’s mind, but a product related to sociocultural performance emerging from social and semiotic practices and especially from linguistic interaction. Positionality, the second principle, considers identity not only as a collection of such macrolevel demographic categories as age, gender and social class, but also, more importantly, as a set of micro interactional positions and temporary roles taken on by social actors in conversation helping to construct subjectivity and intersubjectivity in discourse. The indexicality principle involves the way linguistic structures are deployed to shape identities. An index is a linguistic form whose meaning depends on its interactional context; as a result, indexicality concerns the creation of semiotic relations between linguistic structures and social meanings. The third principle is heavily dependent on ideology, since it is widely believed that specific sorts of language are produced by specific sorts of users. Identity relations are consequently disclosed by means of the following indexical processes: explicit reference to identity categories and labels; implicatures and presuppositions about identity positions; overt evaluative, affective and epistemic stances on the speech event; the employment of linguistic forms ideologically connected to particular personas and social groups. The fourth principle, relationality, maintains that identity is a relational phenomenon; two points follow from this. Firstly, identities are not independent or isolated, but gain social meaning when relating to other identities and social actors. Secondly, they are not focused only on the oversimplified single axis or variable of similarity/difference, but also on other complementary relations called “tactics of intersubjectivity”; namely, adequation/distinction, authentication/denaturalisation, authorisation/delegitimation (Bucholtz & Hall 2010: 23–24). Partialness, the final principle, questions the idea that forms of social life are internally coherent, and is committed to acknowledging that identities are instead situated, fractured and constantly shifting, because they are inherently relational and ideological.

The investigation of identity in the field of academic and professional discourse is one of the central and most productive areas in both research and methodological innovation. It is principally concerned with the scrutiny of how individual traits specific to the author of a given piece of speech or writing are closely intermingled with disciplinary rules common to a professional community. According to Gotti,

Identity is a matter of individuality as well as sameness: it defines what makes individuals similar to their peers but also what makes them to a certain extent unique. Despite the standardising pressure of cultural and language-related factors, academic communication remains in many ways a highly personal affair, with active participation in a disciplinary community requiring a multidimensional discourse that combines the professional, institutional, social and individual identities of its members. (Gotti 2009: 9)

As a result, scholars produce highly complex and multi-faceted texts which are both conventionalised and personalised, and which show different degrees of authorial detachment or involvement. More precisely, collective values, i.e. the distinctive linguistic and cultural norms and contextual constraints of the various academic and professional genres, conflict with individual values and practices, i.e. the social construction and performance of the writer’s identity. Accordingly, identity in discourse in general and in academic discourse in particular is fluid, flexible and negotiable.

Individuality can be detected by analysing specific markers of authorial presence and perspective; for instance: first-person and indefinite pronouns; modality (mostly epistemic); argumentative linkers; negative and concessive structures; metatextual words and phrases (Gotti 2009: 10). [9] These encodings of identity, whose use may perhaps be encouraged by journal or book editors, reviewers and style guides, are effective argumentative strategies; conscious choices scholars deliberately make in order to achieve their rhetorical objectives. One of such interactive and persuasive strategies most common in academic discourse is citation.

3.2 Presentation of Hyland’s (2000) model

In order to examine citation and other professional practices, Hyland (2000) built and studied a corpus in English composed of 1,440,000 words and 1,426 texts from five genres: research papers, book reviews, scientific letters, abstracts, textbook chapters. Citation is specifically investigated by means of the sub-corpus of research papers, which consists of 500,000 words and 80 articles published in 1997 and belonging to eight different hard and soft disciplines: applied linguistics, biology, electronic engineering, marketing, mechanical engineering, philosophy, physics, sociology (Hyland 2000: 179–181). In Hyland’s words,

Citation is central to the social context of persuasion as it can provide justification for arguments and demonstrate the novelty of one’s position. By acknowledging a debt of precedent, a writer is also able to display an allegiance to a particular community or orientation, create a rhetorical gap for his or her research, and establish a credible writer ethos. (Hyland 2000: 20)

Citation is hence the textual practice situating the writer’s ‘individual’ research and arguments within an intertextual disciplinary framework, given that academic discourse is conceived of as a rhetorical reconciliation of originality and dependence on the professional community. Explicit mention of previous literature is critical for new claims to be met with general approval and to contribute to shaping new work in a specific context of knowledge. Academic attribution is a dialogic practice: overt reference to prior community-generated work produces new writing, which in turn makes new research and may therefore be referenced in future work.

Citation is made by means of a broad variety of signalling patterns and reporting structures carrying dissimilar social meanings and rhetorical effects: from the basic ‘direct speech’ or ‘indirect speech’ selection to more complex options combining tense, voice and thematic position. A remarkable rhetorical aspect of academic attribution is the difference between integral citation and non-integral citation. In integral patterns, the citing clause includes the name of the cited author, whereas the author’s name occurs in parentheses or notes in non-integral patterns; “The use of one form rather than the other appears to reflect a decision to give greater emphasis to either the reported author or the reported message” (Hyland 2000: 23). Another notable element of academic attribution is the deployment of a reporting verb to present the research of other authors. The writer’s choice of a certain reporting verb communicates their varying commitment to the reported work. As a result, these verbs “allow the writer to convey clearly the kind of activity reported and to distinguish precisely an attitude to that information, signalling whether the claims are to be taken as accepted or not” (Hyland 2000: 23).

The former of these rhetorical aspects of academic attribution (integral and non-integral citation) is elaborated and analysed in Section 4 and in its sub-sections; the details of the model and the different categories and sub-categories of citation are also explained in the relevant sections below. The latter aspect (reporting verbs) was taken into consideration when detecting all the instances of citation in the lectures, as described in the following section. [10]

Image 2. Title page of the first edition of the lectures (reprinted in Ruskin 1908: 4).

Image 2. Title page of the first edition of the lectures (reprinted in Ruskin 1908: 4).

3.3 Application and adaptation of the model

Hyland’s (2000) model of academic citation was only developed to examine references to the research of other authors and not self-citation. As this scholar observes (Hyland 2000: 23), other-citation is far more crucial and predominant in contemporary academic discourse, and its disciplinary purpose and occurrence are distinct from those of self-citation. Nevertheless, as mentioned in Section 1, Ruskin’s Late Modern lectures abound in both other-citation and self-citation. Consequently, in order to provide an exhaustive study of the citation practices in the text, in this article I will also apply the model to the latter and try to recognise its characteristic interactive properties and identity-building goals. Self-citation will not be considered as an additional sub-category of integral or non-integral citation, but will be included within these categories, more precisely within the sub-categories of integral citation. However, I will not take into account intratextual self-citation, i.e. that alluding to textual excerpts situated or occurring within the same text (roughly 25 examples in the lectures). [11] This is because, in Halliday and Matthiessen’s (2004: 524–585) terms, intratextual self-citation is a discursive device deployed to make a text cohesive, not an interactive strategy between previous and present research.

In order to find all the citations in the lectures and their various linguistic realisations, I complied with the method described and applied by Hyland. Firstly, standard citation forms were computer-searched, such as dates and numbers in brackets, Latinate references, third-person personal and possessive pronouns, possessive noun phrases, generalised terms for agents (here, “the scientific people”, but also “author” and “writer”). The method was adapted to the vocabulary and attributes of the Late Modern lectures by including the following forms: single and double quotation marks; words denoting book parts (viz. note, page, paragraph, chapter, volume, part); titles and their abbreviations (Mister, Messieurs, Doctor, Professor). Secondly, I searched for all the instances of the reporting verbs listed by Hyland (2000: 27–28). This scholar modified Thompson & Ye’s (1991) taxonomy and categorised reporting verbs into research acts (e.g., observe, discover), cognition acts (believe, conceptualise) and discourse acts (ascribe, discuss). Moreover, bearing in mind their evaluative potential, he classified them into those expressing information as true (e.g., acknowledge, point out), information as false (fail, overlook) and non-factive information (advocate, argue). In this second stage too, the method was tailored to the Victorian lectures and vocabulary. I hence also investigated a few verbs from the text with a clear reporting function (viz. compare, print, quote, read, speak, subjoin). In addition, both the reporting verbs and their nominalisations (e.g., assertion, argument) were searched for. Thirdly, the clauses and sentences presenting the 49 occurrences of block quote (see Section 1) were searched manually, since they are subject to more considerable variation in the lectures. While computer-searching and retrieving all the supposed instances of citation, I carefully read the sentences and sequences containing them in order to ascertain that they were indeed citations; this check was feasible thanks to the fact that the entire text is relatively short. Finally, all the actual citations were classified firstly into non-integral and integral categories; then the latter citations were divided into subject, non-subject and noun-phrase sub-categories. All the data were collected in a spreadsheet to facilitate the counting of the different categories and their quantitative analysis.

4. Analysis of citation in The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century

4.1 Average citations per paper and number of citations per 1,000 words

The following examination of the citation practices in the Late Modern lectures is primarily based on a quantitative and qualitative study of the categories of non-integral citation and integral citation, and of the three sub-categories of integral citation. When a reader merely flips through the text, s/he cannot but notice that its most graphologically marked feature is the large number of block quotes; this may lead the reader to assume that the lectures are highly, if not exceedingly, referenced. Therefore, in this section, before moving on to investigating non-integral citation and integral citation, the reader’s assumption about the textual feature of citation will be tested by means of a quantitative analysis of the average citations per paper and the number of citations per 1,000 words.

Hyland (2000) demonstrates that citation practices vary greatly in contemporary academic discourse and in the eight hard and soft disciplines in the corpus of research papers he scrutinised (applied linguistics, biology, electronic engineering, marketing, mechanical engineering, philosophy, physics, sociology). For instance, his model proves that soft disciplines are inclined to utilise more citations than hard subjects. In order to quantify such a variation, he identified and calculated three parameters for each discipline:

  1. The average number of citations per paper;
  2. The number of citations per 1,000 words;
  3. The total citations.

In this examination of The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century, the third parameter (the total citations for each discipline) cannot be adopted for comparison with the lectures, since the present study concerns an individual text, not a corpus of texts. The first and second parameters can instead be used here.

In order for the first parameter (the average number of citations per paper) to be adopted, it is necessary to make a geometrical proportion between the number of words and the number of citations in both the Late Modern text and the contemporary papers in Hyland’s corpus. [12] The calculation shows that the citations in the lectures to contrast with those in Hyland’s papers amount to 54.0. The second parameter is the number of citations per 1,000 words. As mentioned in Section 1, apart from 49 extensive block quotes (8,360 words), the lectures (16,770 words without block quotes) contain 145 shorter citation clauses and sentences introducing the block quotes: it follows that the text features 8.6 citations per 1,000 words.

Discipline or text Average per paper Per 1,000 words
Sociology 104.0 > 12.5 >
Marketing 94.9 > 10.1 >
Philosophy 85.2 > 10.8 >
Biology 82.7 > 15.5 >
Applied linguistics 75.3 > 10.8 >
Electronic engineering 42.8 < 8.4 <
Mechanical engineering 27.5 < 7.3 <
Physics 24.8 < 7.4 <
Totals for all disciplines 67.1 > 10.7 >
SC 54.0 8.6

Table 1. Citations by discipline in Hyland’s model (2000) and in SC.
The symbol > indicates the values higher than SC.
The symbol < indicates the values lower than SC.

When the figures for the lectures are contrasted with the parameters in Hyland’s model (see Table 1), the data for the lectures are below the average of 67.1 citations per paper and 10.7 citations per 1,000 words. Furthermore, the text is underreferenced in comparison with five out of the eight disciplines in the model (sociology, marketing, philosophy, biology, applied linguistics). The evidence for the lectures is only higher than the evidence for the three remaining disciplines of electronic engineering, physics and mechanical engineering. Consequently, while at first sight the text seems to be highly referenced thanks to its several indented block quotes, comparison with Hyland’s findings has shown that this may not actually be the case.

Nevertheless, Bazerman (1988: 164–167) found that, during the last century, from 1893 to 1980, the average number of the works cited in the academic papers published in the Physical Review increased gradually; that is to say, from 1.5 references per paper in 1910 to 25 in 1980, thereby revealing an astonishing 1,500% rise. Accordingly, the fact that the Late Modern lectures appear to have fewer citations in contrast to the contemporary papers may be due to such a twentieth-century rise. This is likely to have been triggered and advocated by the highly developed conventions and requirements meanwhile established by the contemporary review procedure on the one hand, and the official style sheets of academic journals and authoritative associations on the other hand (Hyland 2000: 21–22).

Bazerman’s (1988: 164–167) scrutiny is quantitative as well as qualitative. He also found that, in the earlier years of the Physical Review, a few years after the lectures had been published, references in the academic journal were not deployed in a specific way, i.e. they did not mention given results or even make connections to the current paper. They could therefore be found in the very first part of the paper providing a general framework to it. In the later years, a century after the appearance of the lectures, not only had the number of references per paper increased, they had also become more relevant for the research presented in the paper itself. Consequently, the new arguments were more and more embedded in previous research, which was discussed in greater detail throughout the paper. Of these two extremes of the historical development of references in academic articles, the Late Modern lectures share more features with the more recent citation practices rather than with late nineteenth-century ones, as will be demonstrated in the following analytical sections.

4.2. Surface forms of citation: Non-integral forms

As mentioned in Section 3.2, when scrutinising the surface forms of citation in his corpus, Hyland (2000: 22–25), drawing on Swales (1990), firstly distinguishes between integral and non-integral citation. Integral citation includes a reference to the author’s name in the main text; for instance: “As Gump (1994) explained, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates’”. In non-integral citation, the author’s name is not mentioned in the main text, but only in notes or in parenthesis; for example: “‘Life is like a box of chocolates’ (Gump 1994)”. Deploying integral citation highlights the reported author and is mostly recurrent in philosophy, a discipline characterised by long passages engaging other authors’ statements. Using non-integral citation underlines the reported message while relegating the author to an aside; it is the most frequent type in all the other subjects, also given the style guides and requirements of academic journals.

Discipline or text Non-integral Integral
Biology 90.2 > 9.8 <
Electronic engineering 84.3 > 15.7 <
Physics 83.1 > 16.9 <
Mechanical engineering 71.3 > 28.7 <
Marketing 70.3 > 29.7 <
Applied linguistics 65.6 > 34.4 <
Sociology 64.6 > 35.4 <
Philosophy 35.4 > 64.6 <
Overall averages for all disciplines 67.8 > 32.2 <
SC 2.0 98.0

Table 2. Non-integral and integral forms in Hyland’s model (2000) and in SC (%).
The symbol > indicates the values higher than SC.
The symbol < indicates the values lower than SC.

As shown in Table 2, of the 145 citations in The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century, three only (2.0%) are non-integral forms and the remaining 141 (98.0%) are integral. In contemporary academic discourse, this ratio is nearly reversed. In biology, the discipline utilising more non-integral structures, such structures amount to 90.2%; in philosophy, the area with fewer non-integral forms, they add up to 35.4%; the overall average in all disciplines is 67.8%. The Late Modern lectures hence share the citation practices of philosophy and, as such, abound in extracts openly commenting on previous contributions. Nevertheless, since in the text under examination non-integral structures amount to 2.0% only, the practices found in philosophy are even more noteworthy here: the writer’s remarks and observations are more recurrent, and his viewpoint more straightforward and foregrounded, than is usually the case in that discipline. Furthermore, the three examples of non-integral citation in the lectures occur in sequences also containing instances of integral citation. This seems to confirm that non-integral structures as such are regarded by Ruskin as inadequate and in need of being complemented by integral structures, as demonstrated in the investigation of examples (1) and (2) below.

Example (1) refers to a book by means of an asterisk and a footnote, and is thus one of the three non-integral citations in the lectures: [13]

(1) And I have here a volume,* before quoted, by a very foolish and very lugubrious author, who in his concluding chapter gives us, — founded, you will observe, on a series of ‘ifs,’ — the latest scientific views concerning the order of creation.
*The Conservation of Energy. King and Co., 1873.
(SC: 84; see Image 3)

Image 3. Sample page from the lectures showing block quotes (Ruskin 1908: 76; non-integral citations, example 1).

Image 3. Sample page from the lectures showing block quotes (Ruskin 1908: 76; non-integral citations, example 1).

The citation is very detailed and consists of the following structural elements: the book title, the publisher, the publication date. The name of the author, the Scottish physicist Balfour Stewart (1828-1887), can be inferred from a preceding citation from the same book (SC: 69). Although standard in form, the citation discloses the spoken face-to-face interaction taking place in the lecture context. The indexicals realised by the first-person pronoun “I”, the present tense verb “have” and the place adverb “here” prototypically presuppose a context shared by the lecturer and his listeners. Above all, the indexical “here” is a case of situational reference, or reference to the extralinguistic situation (Quirk et al. 1985: 374). It is used gesturally, so that “it can be properly interpreted only by somebody who is monitoring some physical aspect of the communication situation” (Fillmore 1975: 40). The addressees of the lecture would have been able to know the exact place signalled by the adverb only during the lecture by looking at the lecturer; this is because the adverb may refer to the lecturer’s hand or pocket or desk or to any other location near him. Employing the indexical therefore implies the existence of a communicative situation common to all of its participants and evokes Ruskin’s professional identity as the source of the information offered to his students.

This is reinforced by the prepositional phrase “by a very foolish and very lugubrious author” coming after the non-integral citation. The phrase constitutes an example of a non-subject integral form (see Section 4.3.1) where the author’s name postmodifies the nominal head alluding to the book. As a result, one of the very few non-integral structures in the text is followed by an integral citation, as if for the sake of clarity or completeness. Furthermore, according to Hyland’s model, noun-phrase integral forms in the discipline of philosophy normally feature evaluative adjectives (see Section 4.3). This is also the case here: the noun “author” is premodified by the two adjective phrases “very foolish” and “very lugubrious”, both of which suggest the writer’s evaluation of the author and his book. Ruskin indicates his standpoint on a fellow scholar’s work in a manifest and unambiguous way: see the repetition of the intensifier “very”. Moreover, the negative opinions conveyed realise what Brown and Levinson (1987) term a face-threatening act by means of the impolite if not downright offensive adjectives “foolish” and “lugubrious”, even more so when addressed to an equally distinguished academic. These linguistic selections contribute to constructing his identity as a competent expert in his field with firm and articulate views.

The non-integral citations in example (2), both in the same sentence, are even less typical than (1). They deploy numbers in square brackets linked to the endnotes enclosed in Lecture II:

(2) Professor Tyndall explains the twisted beds of the Jungfrau to you by intimating that the Matterhorn is growing flat; [10] or the clouds on the lee side of the Matterhorn by the wind’s rubbing against the windward side of it, [11] […]
(SC: 25)
[10] Glaciers of the Alps, page 10.—
[block quote from John Tyndall’s Glaciers of the Alps]
[Ruskin’s comment on the block quote]
(SC: 55–56)
[11] Glaciers of the Alps, page 146.—
[block quote from John Tyndall’s Glaciers of the Alps]
[Ruskin’s comment on the block quote]
(SC: 56–58)

Endnotes [10] and [11] are composed of the title of a book by Tyndall and the page number, viz. the core data for the reader to independently pick out and check the mentioned extracts. However, I have called the two citations untypical given that such data are followed by block quotes of those very extracts, which are 104 and 166 words long respectively. The block quotes are in turn followed by the writer’s comments on them, the first sarcastic, the second explicitly critical (“It is not explained, why […]”). In addition, the sentence with the numbers in square brackets also includes the author’s name (“Professor Tyndall”) and the two reporting verbs “explains” and “intimating”. In Hyland’s model (see Section 4.3.2), the author’s name constitutes an instance of a subject integral form, here related to the reporting verbs. The two resulting clauses present the cited work in the form of summaries from a single source (Hyland 2000: 26; see also Sections 1 and 4.3.2). In short, the two non-integral citations in example (2) above, namely the sentence with the numbers in square brackets and the connected endnotes, consist of a complex cluster of six citation clauses: two summaries, two numbers in square brackets, two block quotes. Like example (1), this accumulation of citation clauses may be due to Ruskin’s pursuit of clarity and completeness in the oral context of his lectures. This intent to be fully perspicuous and informative is confirmed in the printed written version of his lectures addressed to a more extensive and general reading audience. By means of these successive additions, his social identity emerges as a knowledgeable scholar furnishing ample and convincing evidence for his unfavourable view of the Victorian “scientific people”. The citation cluster can accordingly be interpreted as a stylistic device to persuade both listeners and readers.

4.3 Surface forms of citation: Integral forms

Within integral sentences, Hyland (2000: 24–25) makes a distinction on the basis of the syntactic functions realised by the authors’ names:

  1. Subject: this is the form giving more prominence to authors; for instance: “As Gump (1994) explained”;
  2. Non-subject: the authors’ names are employed in reporting passive voices or as adjunct agents, such as “according to X”; for example: “As explained by Gump (1994)”. This structure is preferred by hard disciplines;
  3. Noun phrase: the authors’ names and the possessive forms referring to them (genitives, pronouns, etc.) have a premodifying function in noun phrases and often occur with evaluative adjectives, such as in “Stalnker’s pioneering sketch”, “Davidson’s anomalous monism” or “Gump’s (1994) luminous explanation” (my italics in all examples). This is a structure favoured by philosophy and disfavoured by the sciences. [14].

The model was adapted to comprise a few realisations of the authors’ names specific to the lectures. The following structures were therefore also taken into consideration and redistributed among the three sub-categories of integral citation:

  1. Subject and non-subject phrases with a general referent, such as “some blockheads” (SC: 19), “The scientific people” (SC: 24) and “by the daily press” (SC: 15);
  2. Possessive pronouns premodifying the nominalisations of reporting verbs, like “my assertion of radical change” (SC: 15);
  3. Noun phrases embedding details on the author’s identity in postmodifying position, for instance “the sixth lecture which I gave at Oxford in 1872” (SC: 34);
  4. The noun phrase “Homer” (SC: 59) and the two coordinated noun phrases “Mr. Adam Smith and Mr. Stuart Mill” (SC: 82), which, in their cotexts, are elliptical versions of “Homer[’s depiction]” and “Mr. Adam Smith[’s works] and Mr. Stuart Mill[’s works]”.

Given the writer (an art critic), the environmental topic of the lectures and the aesthetic landscape representations in the text, works of art are often referenced, principally paintings. As a result, account was taken of the possessive forms hinting at the authors’ names in such noun phrases as “my sketch of the sky in the afternoon of the 6th of August, 1880, at Brantwood, two hours before sunset” (SC: 30; see Image 4) and “Turner’s constant use of the same symbol” (SC: 52). The lectures are also rich in citations from the Bible or other well-known books, like the writer’s own Modern Painters (1843–1860), The Eagle’s Nest (1872), Fors Clavigera (1871–1884). Such works were so renowned that they are generally cited with no allusion to their authors; hence, although recurrent, these citations are not pertinent to this study.

Discipline or text Subject Non-subject Noun-phrase
Biology 46.7 > 43.3 > 10.0 <
Electronic engineering 34.2 < 57.6 > 8.2 <
Physics 28.6 < 57.1 > 14.3 <
Mechanical engineering 24.9 < 56.3 > 18.8 <
Marketing 66.9 > 23.1 > 10.0 <
Applied linguistics 58.9 > 27.1 > 14.0 <
Sociology 62.9 > 21.5 > 15.6 <
Philosophy 31.8 < 36.8 > 31.4 <
Overall averages for all disciplines 48.3 > 32.7 > 19.0 <
SC 38.5 17.7 43.8

Table 3. Integral forms in Hyland’s model (2000) and in SC (%).
The symbol > indicates the values higher than SC.
The symbol < indicates the values lower than SC.

96 integral forms can be found in the lectures. As shown in Table 3, of these forms 37 are subject structures (38.5%), 17 non-subject structures (17.7%) and 42 noun-phrase structures (43.8%). Noun-phrase citations are consequently the most frequent forms in the sample, subject citations are comparatively frequent, non-subject citations are the least frequent forms. When this pattern is compared with those for the different academic disciplines detected by Hyland (2000: 24), the pattern for the lectures is the exact opposite to those for electronic and mechanical engineering and physics. Although the figures for subject citations are almost similar (for example, 34.2% in electronic engineering), the remaining data are reversed. Indeed, the highest value for these disciplines refers to non-subject structures (57.6% in electronic engineering again) and the lowest to noun-phrase structures (8.2% in the same discipline).

The lectures pattern is very dissimilar to the overall averages, where subject citations amount to 48.3%, non-subject citations to 32.7% and noun-phrase citations to 19.0%. Accordingly, what can be found in the text is fewer subject structures than average, half non-subject structures and more than twice as many noun-phrase structures. The lectures pattern is also distinct from the philosophy pattern (subject forms 31.8%; non-subject forms 36.8%; noun-phrase forms 31.4%); the latter is, incidentally, the most regular of the disciplinary patterns, with the three sub-categories of integral citation evenly distributed. The philosophy pattern is also the one with the highest figure for noun-phrase structures (31.4%), a figure which is 12.4% above the overall average (19.0%); but even the figure for philosophy is still 12.4% lower than that for the text (43.8%).

This quantitative and comparative investigation has uncovered how prominent noun-phrase citations are in the lectures and that non-subject citations are underrepresented. In accordance with Hyland’s model, hard disciplines are more likely to choose non-subject forms than noun-phrase forms. This confirms the distance between the linguistic and discursive strategies deployed in the sciences and those in the text, which belongs in the humanities and has been proven to share a number of features with philosophy. It is these features that primarily contribute to shaping the lecturer-writer’s identity as a scholar and that allow him to interact with both the authors cited and his academic audience, as the following analytical sections will show.

4.3.1 Integral forms: Non-subject citations

In these sections, the citation structures in the lectures will be scrutinised from the least to the most recurrent. The least recurrent, non-subject citations (17 in total, 17.7%), seem to have two discursive functions. The first is contrasting two authors and their works, like in the following examples:

(3) With this bit of noonday from Homer, I will read you a sunset and a sunrise from Byron.
(SC: 20)
(4) The phenomenon was first described by De Saussure, who gives the same explanation as Tyndall; and from whom, in the first volume of Modern Painters, I adopted it without sufficient examination. […] I still retained the explanation of Saussure for the lee-side cloud, engraving in plate 69 the modes of its occurrence on the Aiguille Dru, of which the most ordinary one was afterwards represented by Tyndall in his ‘Glaciers of the Alps,’ under the title of ‘Banner-cloud.’
(SC: 56–57)

In example (3), the two forms have the textual role of organising the information communicated in the sentence. The first (“from Homer”) follows the block quote of a letter containing another block quote from the Greek poet and closes the discussion of the text; the second (“from Byron”) introduces two block quotes from the English author and the observations to come. In example (4), the writer uses the non-subject structures to mention the scientific literature on a specific meteorological phenomenon and to review the various sources. In both examples, he cites from very diverse authors writing in different times, places and languages, and shows his skill at finding the references he needs to support his ideas and at tracing their development in the previous specialised literature. The writer hence employs citations to shape his professional identity as an educated and widely-read scholar, therefore a lecturer his addressees can rely on.

The second discursive function of non-subject forms in the lectures is expressing evaluation; a function most conspicuous in the longer examples:

(5) but on that definition, you will find, alike by Plato and all great subsequent thinkers, a moral Science of Light founded […]
(SC: 33)
(6) The following letter, from a friend whose observations on natural history for the last seven or eight years have been consistently valuable and instructive to me […]
(SC: 70)
(7) The next letter, from a correspondent with whom I have the most complete sympathy in some expressions of his postscript which are yet, I consider, more for my own private ear than for the public eye […]
(SC: 75)

As well as in examples (5) to (7), another non-subject structure is enclosed in example (1) above and analysed in Section 4.2 (“by a very foolish and very lugubrious author […]”). In all these examples, at least an evaluative term or phrase occurs, such as “great”, “consistently valuable and instructive”, “the most complete sympathy”, “very foolish and very lugubrious”. They explicitly signal the writer’s perspective on the authors and works he cites and on what they maintain, thereby guiding his audience in the formation of their opinions. As a result, non-subject citations in the lectures appear to be hybrid forms: the structures most frequent in hard sciences are here also, if not primarily, utilised to perform a discursive function most recurrent in philosophy, that of openly suggesting evaluation and directly arguing in favour of or against the cited authors and their positions.

4.3.2 Integral forms: Subject citations

The second most frequent integral forms in the lectures are subject citations (37 in total, 38.5%), which occur more than twice as often as non-subject structures and nearly as often as noun-phrase structures. In the text, in accordance with Hyland’s model, this category of citation emphasises the authors’ names and makes them directly responsible for the assertions in their works. This seems to be reinforced when the unabridged version of example (4) is examined (subject forms are given in bold, non-subject forms are underlined):

(4) The phenomenon was first described by De Saussure, who gives the same explanation as Tyndall; and from whom, in the first volume of Modern Painters, I adopted it without sufficient examination. Afterwards I re-examined it, and showed its fallacy, with respect to the cap or helmet cloud, in the fifth volume of Modern Painters, page 124, in the terms given in the subjoined note, but I still retained the explanation of Saussure for the lee-side cloud, engraving in plate 69 the modes of its occurrence on the Aiguille Dru, of which the most ordinary one was afterwards represented by Tyndall in his ‘Glaciers of the Alps,’ under the title of ‘Banner-cloud.’
(SC: 56–57)

In example (4), whilst non-subject structures are deployed to hint at the appropriate scientific authors and literature, subject structures refer to the writer himself and the use he made of them in his own works, conveyed with the reporting verbs “adopted”, “re-examined” and “retained”. Consequently, following Hyland’s model, in the lectures in general and in example (4) in particular, the choice of one particular integral form over another allows the writer to indicate how important a given citation is. In fact, in example (4), non-subject forms are backgrounding devices mentioning prior research, and subject forms foregrounding devices mentioning new research developments (Short 1996: 10–13). [15]

Furthermore, in this specific context, given that foregrounding devices are employed to hint at the writer, and given that those developments were undertaken by him, subject structures are another skilful discursive practice to build his professional identity. This identity-construction practice is frequent in the lectures: of the 37 subject forms, 13 (more than one third) are actually self-citations. Such a prominence given to the writer is, however, counterbalanced by the fair number of self-citations realised by the less foregrounding device of noun-phrase structures (see Section 4.3.3). Moreover, it should be borne in mind that, in the oral and subsequently written context of the lectures, employing the personal pronouns “I” and “my” is the easiest, fastest and most effective way for the lecturer-writer to mention himself as an author.

Moving from the observation that cited work can be introduced in dissimilar ways, Hyland (2000: 25–26) recognised four types of presentation: quote, block quote, summary, generalisation. [16] In the academic corpus he scrutinised, direct quotation (quote or block quote) has a very low frequency in all the disciplines and is absent from all the sciences. An overwhelming majority of citations is conveyed by means of summary, while most of the remaining citations are realised by generalisation. For instance, in the philosophy papers 2% of citations are quotes, 1% block quotes, 89% summaries and 8% generalisations. In the lectures, of the 37 total occurrences of subject citations, 13 (more than one third) are employed to introduce quotes and block quotes. In other words, the foregrounding device of subject citation is very often associated with the device of direct quotation; according to Hyland’s model, the latter can also be considered as a foregrounding tool for its relative infrequency and the prominence given to the original words. Accordingly, when a subject form is followed by a direct quotation, both the author (in bold) and their message (underlined) are highlighted:

(8) My correspondent, giving the passage, writes as follows:—
[block quote of letter from G. B. Hill]
(SC: 19–20)
(9) he [John Rae] communicated to me the perfectly definite observations which he has had the kindness to set down with their dates for me, in the following letter:—
[block quote of letter from John Rae]
(SC: 64–65)

As Hyland (2000: 26) claims, the distribution of the four types of presentation in his corpus is due to the fact that rewriting the source material by means of summaries and generalisations allows the writer to reinterpret that material and to underscore the observations successfully validating their own. These types can hence be utilised to supply a reading of the source material which can be distinct from the original message and, in extreme cases, to manipulate the source material. On the other hand, the author’s message is communicated through quotes and block quotes when it explicitly backs the writer’s. These categories can therefore be found when the strategy of citing the source material and words verbatim is thought to be the most effective to achieve the writer’s persuasive aims. In the lectures, this is the case with examples (8) and (9): both of them have the discursive function of supporting the writer’s arguments, as is confirmed in example (9) by his deployment of positive evaluation (“the perfectly definite observations”, “the kindness to set down”).

Nevertheless, this does not hold true of examples (10) and (11):

(10) ‘When,’ says Professor Tyndall, ‘you are told that the atoms of the sun vibrate at different rates, and produce waves of different sizes,—your experience of water-waves will enable you to form a tolerably clear notion of what is meant.’
‘Tolerably clear’!—your toleration must be considerable, then.
(SC: 32)
(11) he [Balfour Stewart] prepares for the scientific toilet by telling us in italics that ‘the something which the rifle ball possesses in contradistinction to the rifle stock is clearly the power of overcoming resistance,’ since ‘it can penetrate through oak-wood or through water—or (alas! that it should be so often tried) through the human body; and this power of penetration’ (italics now mine) ‘is the distinguishing characteristic of a substance moving with very great velocity. Let us define by the term “Energy,” this power which the rifle ball possesses of overcoming obstacles, or of doing work.’
(SC: 69)

Contrary to the model and examples (8) and (9), the direct quotations in examples (10) and (11) do not serve as an authoritative basis for the writer to amplify those direct quotations and develop his own assertions. He actually elaborates his claims by openly challenging those statements and using negative evaluation, such as the echoic structure “Tolerably clear”, emphasised by an exclamation mark, the echoic comment “your toleration must be considerable, then”, and the ironic phrase “the scientific toilet” (for further instances of negative evaluation connected to the author cited in example (11), see example (1)). As a result, in examples (8) to (11), the writer openly assesses his sources by means of positive or negative value-laden words and phrases. When expressing negative evaluation in such an explicit way, namely when performing face-threatening acts, his professional identity emerges as assertive and self-assured. Indeed, he firstly underlines the authors’ names through subject citations and, very often, their observations through direct quotations; then he attacks both those authors and observations by revealing the flaws in their reasoning; finally he suggests and demonstrates his new theories.

4.3.3 Integral forms: Noun-phrase citations

Noun-phrase citations (42 in total, 43.8%) are the most recurrent integral forms in the lectures. By definition, they occur in the syntactic structure of a noun phrase and premodify its nominal head, which can be realised by the nominalisation of a reporting verb. Consequently, they appear to be the most syntactically compact type of integral citation. A few instances are shown in example (12): [17]

(12) (a) in the close of my lecture on landscape last year at Oxford (SC: 19)
(b) The diagram is enlarged from my careful sketch of the sunset of 1st October, 1868, at Abbeville (SC: 28; see Image 4)
(c) The reader may be interested to see the notice, in Modern Painters, of Turner’s constant use of the same symbol (SC: 52)
(d) in his [John Tyndall’s] great account of his ascent of Mont Blanc with Mr. Huxley (SC: 62)
(e) In my friend’s [Robert C. Leslie’s] next letter (SC: 74)
(f) I subjoin Mr. Andrews’ letter, extremely valuable in its collation of the records of simultaneous volcanic phenomena (SC: 86)

Example (12) is a representative sample of the noun-phrase citations in the lectures and of their economical style. In (12a) and (12b), the premodifier in the noun phrase is the possessive pronoun “my”. In the entire text, 15 instances of noun-phrase citation out of 42 (more than one third) consist of the pronoun referring to the writer. However, as mentioned in Section 4.3.2, the personal pronouns “my” and “I” are the most straightforward linguistic means available to the lecturer-writer to hint at himself; their comparatively high frequency does not accordingly seem to have any special statistical importance. Nevertheless, the first-person singular pronouns in the text are of stylistic interest, since they foreground the figure of the lecturer-writer and construct him as the main and most authoritative source of information. [18]

Image 4. “my careful sketch of the sunset of 1st October, 1868, at Abbeville” (SC: 28) and “my sketch of the sky in the afternoon of the 6th of August, 1880, at Brantwood, two hours before sunset” (SC: 30) (Ruskin 1908: 22-23).

Image 4. “my careful sketch of the sunset of 1st October, 1868, at Abbeville” (SC: 28) and “my sketch of the sky in the afternoon of the 6th of August, 1880, at Brantwood, two hours before sunset” (SC: 30) (Ruskin 1908: 22–23).

(12c), citing the work of the painter J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851), does not provide further details on him or his paintings through longer and more complex syntactic structures. In the lectures such details or structures are not required: the writer mostly recalls the works of such classic and modern eminent figures as Homer, Plato and Newton, and of authors who should have been well-known to his addressees, if not to the Victorian general public, like H.-B. de Saussure (1740–1799), a Swiss physicist and Alpine traveller. Actually, the text only includes three noun phrases constituted by the author’s name premodifying the title of a work:

(13) (a) Professor Tyndall’s Forms of Water (SC: 53)
(b) Mr. Cunningham’s Natural History of the Strait of Magellan (SC: 60)
(c) White’s ‘History of Selborne’ (SC: 86)

The limited use of the type of noun-phrase citation in example (13) reinforces the reading that the other authors and works cited were assumed to be familiar to the writer’s audience.

Despite being linguistic signals of discursive economy, the noun-phrase forms in the lectures are often associated with direct quotations, which may be relatively long. The foregrounding device of subject structure, analysed in Section 4.3.2, has been proven to be frequently connected to the equally foregrounding device of quotes or block quotes. In addition to this, eight of the 42 noun-phrase citations are followed by block quotes and seven by quotes; they add up to 15 cases in total, i.e. more than one third of the noun-phrase forms in the text is juxtaposed with direct quotations. A few examples are given below:

(14) and the first entries in my diary which I read you shall be from the 22d to 26th June, 1876, of perfectly lovely and natural weather.
[block quote of three entries from the writer’s own diary]
(SC: 42–43)
(15) I add here Chapman’s version of the other passage, which is extremely beautiful and close to the text, while Pope’s is hopelessly erroneous.
[block quote from George Chapman’s translation of six verses from Homer’s Iliad]
(SC: 60)
(16) (a) Plato’s ‘the power that through the eye manifests color’ (SC: 33)
(b) Professor Tyndall’s ‘rubbing against the rocks’ (SC: 57-58)
(c) my friend’s vigorously accurate expression, eyes ‘unmuzzled by brass or glass’ (SC: 73)
(d) Mr. Thackeray’s close of his Waterloo chapter in Vanity Fair, ‘And all the night long Amelia was praying for George, who was lying on his face dead with a bullet through his heart’ (SC: 80)

Hence, whereas the combination of the two foregrounding devices subject structure + direct quotation underscores both the author and the message, by means of the combination of the less foregrounding device noun-phrase structure + direct quotation the writer suggests that he wishes to background the author, including himself in the 15 self-citations, and to foreground the message only. Since the author’s message is usually followed by the writer’s remarks on it, foregrounding the message in the lectures is tantamount to foregrounding the writer’s standpoint and explicit praise or dispraise of the author’s message.

This foregrounding pattern appears to be confirmed by a discursive function of noun-phrase citations present in the text in at least four phrases and sentences concerning 10 total forms. Example (15) above shows one of such sentences, with two noun-phrase forms (“Chapman’s” and “Pope’s”); examples (17) and (18) below show two longer sentences, with three forms each:

(17) But my former expansion of Saussure’s theory is at least closer to the facts than Professor Tyndall’s ‘rubbing against the rocks,’ and I therefore allow room for it here, with its illustrative wood-cut.
[block quote and illustration from the writer’s own Modern Painters]
(SC: 57–58)

Image 5. Illustrative wood-cut from Modern Painters cited and reprinted in the lectures (Ruskin 1908: 51).

Image 5. Illustrative wood-cut from Modern Painters cited and reprinted in the lectures (Ruskin 1908: 51).

(18) For the sudden and extreme local blackness of thundercloud, see Turner’s drawing of Winchelsea, (England series), and compare Homer[‘s depiction], of the Ajaces, in the 4th book of the Iliad,—(I came on the passage in verifying Mr. Hill’s quotation from the 5th.)
[block quote of six verses from Homer’s Iliad]
(SC: 59)

The main discursive function of examples (15), (17) and (18) and of the noun-phrase structures in bold is making direct connections and comparisons between the authors and works cited. In three of the four clauses and sentences given here, these connections and comparisons are followed by block quotes from those authors and works, and in one sentence by an illustration as well. This is as if the writer offered the extra-textual materials to demonstrate his statements and to allow his addressees to verify them independently.

The relations set up by the utilisation of the noun-phrase citations are openly evaluative, because the writer conveys his views in his judicial and authoritative manner. In example (15), he judges Chapman’s and Pope’s translations of the Iliad and gives clear reasons for his opinions, favourable and unfavourable respectively, through value-laden adjective phrases (“extremely beautiful and close to the text”, “hopelessly erroneous”).

In example (17), by deploying juxtaposed noun-phrase forms, the writer firstly acknowledges the source of his hypothesis, thus introducing the former as valid and the latter as well-founded (“my former expansion of Saussure’s theory”). Secondly, he distinguishes that hypothesis from Tyndall’s with another value-laden adjective phrase (“at least closer to the facts”). Finally, he furnishes a quote summarising the British physicist’s theory (“‘rubbing against the rocks’”). The foregrounding device of direct quotation presenting that theory in its author’s own vague and unscientific terms has the dual objective of discrediting Tyndall’s hypothesis and enforcing the writer’s, which is subsequently supplied by means of a block quote and visually illustrated and emphasised by one of the six pictures printed with the lectures (see Image 5).

Example (18) is composed of the academic citation pattern “for issue X, see references A and B”. As in example (3), the writer proves to be uncommonly learned by citing relevant, but also very different, authors working not only in diverse places and times, but also in such different fields as visual arts and poetry (“Turner’s drawing”, “Homer”). His professional self-representation as a learned and trustworthy lecturer and writer is here completed by the details in brackets. The third noun-phrase structure in the sentence (“Mr. Hill’s quotation”) is used to extol his correspondent for finding a pertinent excerpt and bringing it to his attention. It is also, and perhaps more importantly, deployed to inform his audience that, although from a reliable source, the quote has duly been checked for accuracy and another appropriate one has thereby been discovered.

The examination has disclosed that the noun-phrase citations in the lectures can often be found together with words and phrases explicitly communicating the writer’s positive or negative evaluation of the authors and works selected. According to Hyland’s (2000: 24–25) model, the disciplinary discourse of philosophy prefers noun-phrase forms comprising value-laden words, which are instead very unusual in the hard disciplines. In the model, value-laden words are normally adjectives with an attributive function realising the function of premodifier, therefore occurring between the author’s name and the nominal head. This pattern is also frequent in the text and a few instances are present in the examples above; see “my careful sketch” (example 12b), “his great account” (12d), “my friend’s vigorously accurate expression” (16c). Nevertheless, the lectures also feature value-laden adjective phrases with a predicative function realising the function of subject complement, such as the already investigated “extremely beautiful and close to the text” (example 16), “hopelessly erroneous” (15), “at least closer to the facts” (17). Employing evaluation beyond the noun-phrase boundaries described in the model is a further discursive strategy skilfully utilised by the writer to openly express his academic viewpoint on the authors cited and, along with it, his professional self-confidence and assertiveness.

5. Conclusions

Scrutinising The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century as an instance of Late Modern academic discourse and analysing the professional practice of citation in the lectures have uncovered that this practice is an interactive means deployed already in Victorian prose. In the examination of the text, the type of interaction considered is that between the writer citing an author or work, here Ruskin, and the author or work cited; this is principally realised through the three sub-categories of integral citation described in Hyland’s (2000) model of academic citation. Citation in the model is combined with evaluation: evaluating in disciplinary discourses means assessing the worth of the authors cited and of their research, namely their professional standing in their disciplinary community. Like citation, this practice has been shown to be particularly recurrent in the text. Although this may also be due to the diachronic development of academic discourse as a whole or the differences between academic subgenres (see Section 2), here the learned lecturer-writer uses evaluation far more frequently and extensively than in the model. This is because he is expected to provide academic information to his presumably less learned target addressees and to persuade them of his perspective on that information. As a result, citation in the text confirms itself to be an interactive tool engaging the writer in communication not only with the distinct authors he cites, but also with the audience in whose interest he cites and evaluates those authors.

To be more exact, in the lectures the writer employs the interactive device of citation to shape his professional identity and reinforce his reputation as a distinguished academic and public figure. The investigation has revealed that, by citing a wide range of very different authors and works, including his own, he depicts himself as a competent expert not only in his main field (art criticism), but also in such neighbouring fields as classical and modern literature, and even in such distant fields as meteorology and physics. By doing so, he gives prominence to the key role played by his previous professional experience, his disciplinary seniority and his high status among both the Victorian academia and general public.

Whilst manifesting accountability to the shared practices of his academic profession, that seniority and that status allow the writer some independence from them and some disciplinary originality and creativity. This is demonstrated, among other discursive characteristics, by the fair number of self-citations and, above all, by the explicitly positive or negative, even face-threatening, evaluation and assessment of the several other-citations the text abounds in. Along with citation, it is by means of evaluation that Ruskin builds and confirms his professional identity and represents himself not as an objective and neutral scholar, but as a charismatic lecturer with firm, articulate and proudly expressed ‘green’ opinions on environmental damage and protection still influential, convincing and, in turn, cited in the twenty-first century.


I would like to thank the editors of the volume and the anonymous reviewer of this article for their invaluable comments and advice. All remaining shortcomings are mine.


[1] Hereafter, Ruskin 2012 [1884] will be referred to as SC in references, notes and tables; for the title page of the first edition, see Image 2. The two lectures are introduced by a short preface dated March 12, 1884, where Ruskin also explains the structure of the text. While Lecture I is published, with minor changes, as it was first delivered on February 4, Lecture II is constituted by the notes on Lecture I as it was repeated during a second, enlarged, reading on February 11 (SC: 16; see also the opening paragraph of Lecture II (SC: 49)). The full text of the lectures is freely available online in several file formats. For the .pdf version of the authoritative edition by E.T. Cook and A. Wedderburn (1908), see the webpage of the Ruskin Library and Research Centre at Lancaster University at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/users/ruskinlib/Pages/Works.html; for a number of other formats, see Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20204. [Go back up]

[2] For a definition of genre and for the distinction between genre and text type, see Section 2. For the language of letters and other major text types in Late Modern English, see Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2009: 119–146. [Go back up]

[3] For further discussion and for data problems in historical linguistics in general and historical pragmatics in particular, see Taavitsainen & Jucker 2010: 7 11. [Go back up]

[4] See Jucker, Fritz & Lebsanft 1999; Fitzmaurice & Taavitsainen 2007; Mazzon 2009; Culpeper & Kytö 2010; Jucker & Taavitsainen 2010; Mazzon & Fodde 2012; Jucker & Taavitsainen 2013; for a recent overview, see Kádár 2014. [Go back up]

[5] For details on these extracts, see Cook & Wedderburn 1908: xxiv; for a sample page from SC showing the block quote in example (1) scrutinised in Section 4.2, see Image 3. [Go back up]

[6] For the case study of scientific discourse from a historical pragmatic standpoint, see Pahta & Taavitsainen 2010: 549–586, and Jucker & Taavitsainen 2013: 164–182. [Go back up]

[7] See, e.g., Hyland 2000; Swales 2004; Gotti 2009; Berkenkotter, Bhatia & Gotti 2012; Hyland 2012. [Go back up]

[8] Salager-Meyer (1999) developed a model and typology of reference patterns and applied them to a corpus of medical articles in English published between 1810 and 1995. Despite the differences between her model and Hyland’s model applied to the data in this article, the results are not dissimilar: “Some referential patterns are clearly typical of 19th century medical discourse (verbatim quotes, general and specific references); others typify early 20th century articles (footnotes), and others are truly characteristic of late 20th century medical papers (end-lists). Self-references were found to be atypical, i.e. they have consistently and quite regularly been used throughout the period studied” (Salager-Meyer 1999: 279). [Go back up]

[9] These interactive markers are also widely researched in pragmatics and historical pragmatics: see references in Note 4. [Go back up]

[10] Given the interest of the topic to academic citation in particular and professional discourse in general, further research could scrutinise reporting verbs in the text or in Late Modern academic writing. [Go back up]

[11] See, e.g.: “nor is there a single fact stated in the following pages which I have not verified with a chemist’s analysis, and a geometer’s precision” (SC: 15); “Hitherto I have spoken of all aqueous vapor as if it were either transparent or white” (SC: 27); “I have painted the diagram here shown you” (SC: 28) (my italics in all examples). [Go back up]

[12] X = (145 * 6,250) / 16,770, where: X citations in SC to contrast with those in Hyland’s papers, 145 citations in SC, 6,250 average number of words in Hyland’s papers, 16,770 words in SC (without block quotes). [Go back up]

[13] When utilising asterisks and footnotes, the editors of Ruskin 2012 do not graphologically distinguish the writer’s notes (e.g. SC: 81, 84) from their own (e.g. SC: 37, 50). I hence checked that recent edition against Ruskin 1908, edited by E.T. Cook and A. Wedderburn. [Go back up]

[14] Some readers might find Hyland’s label “noun-phrase integral citation” confusing, since what is important for classification is the genitive form or the possessive pronoun, and since the sub-categories “subject” and “non-subject” also predominantly consist of or constitute noun phrases. Nevertheless, I have decided to adopt Hyland’s labels for the three sub-categories of integral citation for at least two reasons: 1. The authoritativeness and wide circulation of his model in the field of academic discourse; 2. The fact that the model is applied here without modifications — modifying the model would have justified relabelling the three sub-categories. [Go back up]

[15] Here and in the following section, the term “foregrounding”, along with its antonym “backgrounding”, is deployed in its stylistic meaning: “Formally, foregrounding is a deviation, or departure, from what is expected in the linguistic code or the social code expressed through language; functionally, it is a special effect or significance conveyed by that departure” (Leech 2008: 3). [Go back up]

[16] For a definition of these options, see Section 1. Investigating presentation of cited work in Late Modern academic discourse or in the lectures, because of the large number of block quotes they feature, could be the subject of future research. [Go back up]

[17] In this section, given the large number of noun-phrase citations in the lectures and their relative concision, I provide several examples of them. For space reasons, I group and scrutinise them according to their linguistic features and the discursive functions they have in common. [Go back up]

[18] Among other linguistic and discursive features, contemporary academic writing is characterised by an impersonal style created by the frequent use of passive constructions; hence, first-person pronouns are frequently frowned upon. Further research could investigate whether the difference between the lectures and contemporary academic discourse with respect to conventions in first-person pronoun usage actually constitutes a diachronic change. [Go back up]


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