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HOW CAN ONE DESCRIBE STYLISTICS AS A CONCEPT IN ENGLISH STUDIES

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Introduction

NAME: SOLABOMI ADEBANJO-ANTWI TERM PAPER: HOW CAN ONE DESCRIBE STYLISTICS AS A CONCEPT IN ENGLISH STUDIES Definition Stylistics applies linguistics to literature in the hope of arriving at analyses which are more broadly based, rigorous and objective. The pioneers were the Prague and Russian schools, but their approaches have been appropriated and extended by radical theory in recent years. Stylistics can be evaluative (i.e. judge the literary worth on stylistic criteria), but more commonly attempts to simply analyse and describe the workings of texts which have already been selected as noteworthy on other grounds. Stylistic analysis in linguistics refers to the identification of patterns of usage in speech and writing. Analyses can appear objective, detailed and technical, even requiring computer assistance, but some caution is needed. Stylistic analysis in literary studies is usually made for the purpose of commenting on quality and meaning in a text. Linguistics is currently a battlefield of contending theories, with no settlement in sight. Many critics have no formal training in linguistics, or even proper reading, and are apt to build on theories (commonly those of Saussure or Jacobson) that are inappropriate and/or no longer accepted. ...read more.

Middle

In some forms of stylistic analysis, the numerical recurrence of certain stylistic features is used to make judgements about the nature and the quality of the writing. Moreover, stylistics need not be reductive and simplistic. There is no need to embrace Jacobson's theory that poetry is characterized by the projection of the paradigmatic axis onto the syntagmatic one. Nor accept Bradford's theory of a double spiral: literature has too richly varied a history to be fitted into such a straitjacket. Stylistics suggests why certain devices are effective, but does not offer recipes, any more than theories of musical harmony explains away the gifts of individual composers. Some stylistic analysis is to be found in most types of literary criticism, and differences between the Traditional, New Criticism and Stylistics approaches are often matters of emphasis. Style is a term of approbation in everyday use ("that woman has style", etc.), and may be so for Traditional and New Criticism. But where the first would judge a poem by reference to typical work of the period (Jacobean, Romantic, Modernist, etc.), or according to genre, the New Criticism would probably simply note the conventions, explain what was unclear to a modern audience, and then pass on to a detailed analysis in terms of verbal density, complexity, ambiguity, etc. ...read more.

Conclusion

in carrying out a procedure] technical terms 'piston', 'carburetor', 'spark plug' diagram [an extra level of communication to aid understanding] Features are dealt with in three stages, as follows: identify - describe - explain The features chosen from any text will be those which characterise the piece as to its function. They will be used by the analyst to prove the initial statement, which is made about the linguistic nature of the text as a whole. This method purports to be fairly scientific. A hypothesis is stated and then proved. It is a useful discipline, which encourages logical thought and can be transferred to many other areas of academic study. This is one reason why the discipline of stylistic analysis is so useful: it can be applied to a variety of subjects. CONCLUSION Stylistics continues to face its status as a discipline operating among all other disciplines, from which it historically has drawn both its goals and its methods. Work being done in the last quarter of the century on historical and contextual readings of literary and nonliterary texts suggests that stylistic models can be expanded sufficiently to allow the discipline to continue to draw upon all related fields adequately for its own purposes while maintaining its own autonomy. ...read more.

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