Stylistics ENG 551
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Stylistics ENG 551
Lecture 2RecapStylistics is the study of style used in literary and verbal language and the effects the writer/speaker wishes to communicate to the reader/listener.Stylistics applies linguistics to literature in the hope of arriving at analyses which are broad, rigorous and objective.
Historical Development of StylisticsAs a discipline, it links literary criticism to linguistics. It does not function independently, but it utilizes the principles of inquiry form both linguistics and literary criticism.The further development of stylistics was based on the three sources 1. Poetics led to the development of Literary Criticism 3. Rhetoric and 4. Dialectics developed into Stylistics.
Historical DevelopmentI. A. Richards and William Empson developed an approach in order to concentrate on the literary texts themselves, and how readers were affected by those texts. This approach is often called Practical Criticism.It is matched by a similar critical movement in the USA, associated with Cleanth Brooks, called New Criticism.Historical DevelopmentModern stylistics has its roots in Russian Formalism of the early twentieth century. Stylistics can trace its roots to the formalist tradition that developed in Russian literary Criticism at the turn of the 20th century. Roman Jakobsons work focused on poetic language and the study of its formal qualities.
What is Stylistics?Nature, Scope & Significance of StylisticsStylistics is a critical method that analyzes literary works on the basis of style. Its practitioners focus on analyzing a writers stylistic choices with regard to Diction/ Vocabulary, Syntax, Phonology, Figurative language.In analyzing literary works stylisticians explore topics whether writes use everyday speech or elevated language, whether they use periodic or loose syntaxes, whether they employ predominantly visual or auditory imagery.
Nature of StylisticsStylistics is a linguistic approach to literature, explaining the relationship between language and artistic function, with motivating questions such as why and How more than What Geoffery Leech Style in Fiction : A Linguistic Guide to English Poetry
Relationship between Language & Artistic FunctionLanguageCommunicative / Utilitarian PurposesTo convey ideas, to inform etc
Artistic functionAesthetic functionsWriters urge to creative expression Readers need to feel pleasure through readingNature of StylisticsStylistics is a distinctive term that may be used to determine the connections between the form and effect within a particular variety of language. Therefore Stylistics looks at what is going on within the language, what the linguistic associations are that the style of language reveals. FormEffect
Nature of StylisticsOther feature of stylistics include : the use of dialogue, including regional accents and peoples dialects, descriptive language the use of grammar such as the active voice or passive voice the distribution of sentence length the use of particular language registers.Nature of StylisticsStylistics is the scientific study of style. Because it follows an objective methodology, namely retracing or recovering the process of text production (i.e. the intention of the writer) starting form the clues left in text as product, which sets it apart form other less scientific methods of text analysis (Short, 1996)Scope & SignificanceDavid Lodge in Language of Fiction argues:It is impossible to paraphrase literary writings, to translate literary works or to divorce the general appreciation of a literary work form the appreciation of its style, for the inevitable loss of the hidden, metaphorical meaning.Scope of StylisticsStylistics is the study of style used in literary and verbal language and the effects the writer/ speaker wishes to communicate to the reader/listener.It attempts to establish principles capable of explaining the particular choices made by individuals and social groups in their use of language such as socialization, the production and reception of meaning, literary criticism and critical discourse analysis.Scope Stylistics can tell us how to name constituent part of a literary text and enables us to document their operations, but in doing so it must draw upon the terminology and methodology of multiple disciplines, e.g. the study of meter, narrative and dialogue. The study of fundamental units and principle of all linguistic usage:Phonemes, grammatical classes, forms of syntactic organization, rhythmic sequences etc. Scope Linguistics is not and will never be the whole of literary analysis , and only the literary analyst not the linguistcan determine the place of linguistics in literary studies. But if a text is to be described at all, then it should be described properly by the theories and methods developed in linguistics, whose task is precisely to show how language worksM.K Halliday Descriptive Linguistics in Literary Studies: Stylistics and PsychologyScopeStylistics draws principles of inquiry of text form various sources and disciplines such asLinguistics, Literary CriticismStructuralismSemioticsSociolinguisticsDiscourse analysis & Gender Studies
General AimDetermine which stylistic features, i.e. which grammatical category is predominant or stylistically significant. (description)Decide which function the stylistic features paly in the overall meaning of the text (interpretation)Formal StylisticsHow a Writer WritesThe devices authors use to express their thoughts and to convey the subject matter of works.StyleFormWhat a writer WritesThe content which these critics refer to as information or message.InformationContent
Formal StylisticsFormal Stylisticians understand style as the way authors can present the content of a work, ways that invariably affect its aesthetic quality and the readers emotional reaction.
The quality of writing style How does it influence the reader