AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to present a preliminary approach to the study of blurbs, brief texts traditionally displayed on bookcovers, and nowadays also on the Internet, which provide information about a book to potential readers. This study focuses on four of the most widelyknown publishing and bookselling companies in the English-speaking world: Penguin, Ballantine, Routledge, and Barnes & Noble, and analyses more than 60 blurbs displayed on their web sites. The study indicates that blurbs may constitute a genre characterised by a definite communicative purpose and by the use of specific linguistic and discourse conventions. Blurbs perform an informative function based on the description of the contents of a book. But this function is secondary to their persuasive purpose, characteristic of advertising discourse, because blurbs recommend the book by means of review extracts from various sources in an attempt to persuade the prospective reader to buy the "product." In order to achieve their communicative purpose, blurbs make use of a wide range of linguistic and discourse conventions typical of advertising discourse: complimenting, elliptical syntactic patterns, the imperative, the address form "you," and what I have called "curiosity arousers," usually in the form of rhetorical questions and excerpts from the book
Copyright (c) 2005 María Lluïsa Gea Valor
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