stylistics


stylistics
stylistician /stuy'li stish"euhn/, n.
/stuy lis"tiks/, n. (used with a sing. v.)
the study and description of the choices of linguistic expression that are characteristic of a group or an individual in specific communicative settings, esp. in literary works.
[1840-50; see STYLISTIC, -ICS]

* * *

Aspect of literary study that emphasizes the analysis of various elements of style (such as metaphor and diction).

The ancients saw style as the proper adornment of thought. In this view, which prevailed throughout the Renaissance, devices of style can be catalogued and ideas can be framed with the help of model sentences and prescribed types of figures suited to the mode of discourse. In more recent theories, the relationship of style and the individual writer's unique vision of reality is emphasized.

* * *

      study of the devices in languages (such as rhetorical figures and syntactical patterns) that are considered to produce expressive or literary style.

      Style has been an object of study from ancient times. Aristotle, Cicero, Demetrius, and Quintilian treated style as the proper adornment of thought. In this view, which prevailed throughout the Renaissance period, devices of style can be catalogued. The essayist or orator is expected to frame his ideas with the help of model sentences and prescribed kinds of “figures” suitable to his mode of discourse. Modern stylistics uses the tools of formal linguistic analysis coupled with the methods of literary criticism; its goal is to try to isolate characteristic uses and functions of language and rhetoric rather than advance normative or prescriptive rules and patterns.

      The traditional idea of style as something properly added to thoughts contrasts with the ideas that derive from Charles Bally (1865–1947), the Swiss philologist, and Leo Spitzer (1887–1960), the Austrian literary critic. According to followers of these thinkers, style in language arises from the possibility of choice among alternative forms of expression, as for example, between “children,” “kids,” “youngsters,” and “youths,” each of which has a different evocative value. This theory emphasizes the relation between style and linguistics, as does the theory of Edward Sapir (Sapir, Edward), who talked about literature that is form-based (Algernon Charles Swinburne, Paul Verlaine (Verlaine, Paul), Horace, Catullus, Virgil, and much of Latin literature) and literature that is content-based (Homer, Plato, Dante, William Shakespeare) and the near untranslatability of the former. A linguist, for example, less bogged down in imagery and meaning, might note the effective placing of dental and palatal spirants in Verlaine's famous

Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne
Blessent mon coeur d'une langueur monotone,
Tout suffocant et blême quand sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens des jours anciens, et je pleure.

      The impressionistic “slow, dragging” effect of Edgar Allan Poe (Poe, Edgar Allan)'s

On desperate seas long wont to roam

      can be made more objective by the linguist's knowledge of the stress contour or intonation. Here the predominance of the stronger primary and secondary stresses creates the drawn-out interminable effect.

      Style is also seen as a mark of character. The Count de Buffon (Buffon, Georges-Louis Leclerc, count de)'s famous epigram “Le style est l'homme même” (“Style is the man himself”) in his Discours sur le style (1753), and Arthur Schopenhauer's definition of style as “the physiognomy of the mind” suggest that, no matter how calculatingly choices may be made, a writer's style will bear the mark of his personality. An experienced writer is able to rely on the power of his habitual choices of sounds, words, and syntactic patterns to convey his personality or fundamental outlook.

      Twentieth-century work on stylistics, particularly in Britain (by such scholars as Roger Fowler and M.A.K. Halliday (Halliday, M.A.K.)), looked at relationships between social, contextual, and formal linguistic analysis. There were also attempts, as in the work of Stanley Fish (Fish, Stanley) and Barbara Herrnstein Smith from the 1970s and 1980s, to interrogate the logical assumptions underlying stylistics.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stylistics — might apply to:* The Stylistics, a Philadelphia soul group * Stylistics (linguistics), the study of language and its context …   Wikipedia

  • stylistics — [stī lis′tiks] n. the study of style as a means of analyzing works of literature and their effect; now often, specif., such study using mathematical and statistical methods …   English World dictionary

  • Stylistics — The Stylistics sind ein US amerikanisches Vokalensemble, das vor allem in der ersten Hälfte der 1970er großen Erfolg hatte. Sie gehörten zu den bekanntesten Vertretern des Phillysounds. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Karriere 2 Auszeichnungen 3 Diskografie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • stylistics — noun plural but singular or plural in construction Date: circa 1883 1. an aspect of literary study that emphasizes the analysis of various elements of style (as metaphor and diction) 2. the study of the devices in a language that produce… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • stylistics — См. stilìstica …   Пятиязычный словарь лингвистических терминов

  • stylistics — noun The study of literary style, and how it changes within different contexts …   Wiktionary

  • stylistics — Synonyms and related words: affectation, command of language, exaggeration, expression of ideas, fashion, feeling for words, form of speech, grace of expression, grandiloquence, inflation, literary style, manner, manner of speaking, mannerism,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • stylistics — styl|is|tics [staıˈlıstıks] n [U] the study of style in written or spoken language …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • stylistics — sty|lis|tics [ staı lıstıks ] noun uncount the study of style, especially in language and literature …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • stylistics — plural noun [treated as sing.] the study of the literary styles of particular genres or writers …   English new terms dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.