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Literary Stylistics ENG 551.

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Presentation on theme: "Literary Stylistics ENG 551."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literary Stylistics ENG 551

2 Literary Stylistics In practice most stylistic analysis has attempted to deal with the complex and valued language within literature. Such examination in scope is sometimes narrowed to concentrate on the more striking features rather than broader structure. e.g. deviant and abnormal features. The compact language of poetry reveals secrets of its construction to literary stylisticians

3 Literary Stylistics Literary stylistics is synonymous to literary criticism. Purpose: to explain individual message of the writer to the reader. Decipher a message encoded in unfamiliar way. Express its meaning in communal terms Provide public relevance to a private message H.G. Widdowson “Stylistics”

4 Literary Stylistics Literary stylistician is sensitive to language
But he is primarily not concerned with the way coded/signals are constructed but with the underlying message of these codes Interpretation of the signals Concerned with figurative language and evocativeness of language which characterizes the message

5 Literary Stylistics Literary stylistician is primarily concerned with messages and his interest in codes lies in meaning they convey in particular instance of use. (Widdowson) The beauty of language and how it is used to capturer reality is the focal point of literary stylistics. Literary stylistics takes interpretation as its aim. It is interested in finding out what aesthetic experience or perception of reality a poem is attempting to convey. its observation of how language system is used will serve as only a means to this end.

6 Literary stylistics The analysis of literary devices used in a text. Literary text seen as a self sufficient piece of art. Connotations, denotations Rhyme scheme Figurative language similes, metaphors, personifications, imagery. Enjambment Pathetic fallacy

7 Her pure and eloquent blood Spoke in her cheeks
Example: John Donne Her pure and eloquent blood Spoke in her cheeks And so distinctly wrought That one might say Her body thought. Description of beauty by employing aesthetic means

8 Roman Jakobson in “Style and language” explores the concept of
Emotive or expressive function of language. A direct expression of the speaker’s attitude toward what they are speaking, which tends to produce an impression of a certain emotion. Including words that carry emotional weight persuade and convince us

9 Emotive language “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk” Keats Ode to a Nightingale

10 Example: Emotive language
A poor old father of three died on the spot when a reckless rich boy lost control of his car.

11 Literary Stylistic Literary stylistics therefore searches for underlying significance, for the essential artistic vision which language is used to express It treats literary works as messages. Takes interpretation of text as its aim Based on analysis of stylistically significant features of text literary devices, deviant use of language

12 Example “My aunt suffers form authoritis”

13 “ A grief ago” Dylan Thomas
A deviation from common collocation, the way words are combined with other words, can achieve interesting effects. Geoffrey Leech (1969: 29-31) illustrates it in the poem A Grief Ago. Usually, the expression 'ago' is only combined with time measurements: two years ago, an hour ago, a week ago, etc. To combine 'ago' with 'grief' is a deviation from common usage. The deviation draws the reader's attention to the importance that grief has assumed in the speaker's life; it has become so dominating that it has replaced other time measurements.

14 Poetic license: Inversion
In literary texts generally, and especially in poetry, syntax can differ from everyday usage. There is, on the one hand, a certain amount of poetic license which makes it quite acceptable for a poet to deviate slightly from ordinary syntax to accommodate the sentence to the line form and meter. Such accommodations can be, for instance, inversions, that is, a change in word order: "The King's real, or his stamped face / contemplate" (Donne, Canonization) instead of 'Contemplate the King's real or his stamped face'.

15 It is however the stylistic effects and function by these features rather than the objective description of them that is more important in literary stylistics.

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