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The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics Stylistics has become the most common name for a discipline which at various times has been termed ‘literary linguistics’,

‘literary philology’ and ‘close textual reading’

This Handbook is the definitive account of the field,

drawing on linguistics and related subject areas such as psychology,

literary criticism and critical theory

Placing stylistics in its intellectual and international context,

each chapter includes a detailed illustrative example and case-study of stylistic practice,

with arguments and methods open to examination,

replication and constructive critical discussion

As an accessible guide to the theory and practice of stylistics,

it will equip the reader with a clear understanding of the ethos and principles of the discipline,

as well as with the capacity and confidence to engage in stylistic analysis

peter s'tockwell is Professor of Literary Linguistics at the University of Nottingham,

and a Fellow of the English Association

s'a r a w h i t e l'e y is Lecturer in Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield


Genuinely broad in scope,

each handbook in this series provides a complete state-of-the-field overview of a major sub-discipline within language study and research

Grouped into broad thematic areas,

the chapters in each volume encompass the most important issues and topics within each subject,

offering a coherent picture of the latest theories and findings


the volumes will build into an integrated overview of the discipline in its entirety

Published titles The Cambridge Handbook of Phonology,

edited by Paul de Lacy The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Code-Switching,

Bullock and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio The Cambridge Handbook of Child Language,

Bavin The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages,

Austin and Julia Sallabank The Cambridge Handbook of Sociolinguistics,

edited by Rajend Mesthrie The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics,

edited by Keith Allan and Kasia M

Jaszczolt The Cambridge Handbook of Language Policy,

edited by Bernard Spolsky The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition,

edited by Julia Herschensohn and Martha Young-Scholten The Cambridge Handbook of Biolinguistics,

edited by Cedric Boeckx and Kleanthes K

Grohmann The Cambridge Handbook of Generative Syntax,

edited by Marcel den Dikken The Cambridge Handbook of Communication Disorders,

edited by Louise Cummings The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics,

edited by Peter Stockwell and Sara Whiteley

Further titles planned for the series The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Anthropology,

Paul Kockelman and Jack Sidnell The Cambridge Handbook of Morphology,

edited by Andrew Hippisley and Greg Stump The Cambridge Handbook of Historical Syntax,

edited by Adam Ledgeway and Ian Roberts The Cambridge Handbook of Formal Semantics,

edited by Maria Aloni and Paul Dekker The Cambridge Handbook of English Corpus Linguistics,

edited by Douglas Biber and Randi Reppen The Cambridge Handbook of English Historical Linguistics,

edited by Merja Kyto¨ and Pa¨ivi Pahta

The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics Edited by

Peter Stockwell University of Nottingham

Sara Whiteley University of Sheffield

University Printing House,

Cambridge CB2 8BS,

United Kingdom Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge

It furthers the University’s mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education,

and research at the highest international levels of excellence

org Information on this title: www

org/9781107028876 © Cambridge University Press 2014 This publication is in copyright

Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,

no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press

First published 2014 Printed in the United Kingdom by Clays,

St Ives plc A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data The Cambridge handbook of stylistics / Edited by Peter Stockwell,

University of Nottingham

Sara Whiteley,

University of Sheffield

– (Cambridge handbooks in language and linguistics) ISBN 978-1-107-02887-6 (hardback) 1

English language – Style

English language – Rhetoric



(Professor) editor

Title: Handbook of stylistics

C36 2014 8080

and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is,


List of figures List of contributors Acknowledgements 1 Introduction

page vii ix xvi Peter Stockwell and Sara Whiteley

Part I The discipline of stylistics 2 The theory and philosophy of stylistics Michael Toolan 3 The stylistic tool-kit: methods and sub-disciplines Katie Wales 4 Quantitative methods in literary linguistics Michael Stubbs 5 Stylistics as rhetoric Craig Hamilton 6 Stylistics as applied linguistics Ronald Carter 7 Stylistics as literary criticism Geoff Hall

Part II Literary concepts and stylistics 8 Genre Beatrix Busse 9 Intertextuality and allusion Patrick Colm Hogan 10 Production and intentionality Violeta Sotirova 11 Characterisation Dan McIntyre 12 Voice Christiana Gregoriou 13 Narrative Jessica Mason 14 Defamiliarisation Joanna Gavins 15 Intensity and texture in imagery Barbara Dancygier

Part III Techniques of style 16 Phonostylistics and the written text Manuel Jobert 17 Grammatical configuration Michaela Mahlberg 18 Semantic prosody Bill Louw and Marija Milojkovic 19 Action and event Paul Simpson and Patricia Canning


burying and plot construction Catherine Emmott and Marc Alexander 23 Analysing dialogue Mick Short 24 Atmosphere and tone Peter Stockwell

Part IV The contextual experience of style 25 Iconicity Olga Fischer 26 Ethics Sara Whiteley 27 Fictionality and ontology Alison Gibbons 28 Emotions,

feelings and stylistics David S

Miall 29 Narrative structure Ruth Page 30 Performance Tracy Cruickshank 31 Interpretation Lesley Jeffries 32 A portrait of historical stylistics Joe Bray

Part V Extensions of stylistics 33 Media stylistics Marina Lambrou and Alan Durant 34 Advertising culture Rodney H

Jones 35 Political style Jonathan Charteris-Black 36 The stylistics of relationships Sara Mills 37 Stylistics in translation Benedict Lin 38 The stylistics of everyday talk David Peplow 39 Coda: the practice of stylistics Peter Stockwell and Sara Whiteley

References Index

616 668


Figure 4

Occurrences of she followed by a lexical verb in Eveline by James Joyce page 52 Comparison of extracts from ‘Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street’ and Mrs Dalloway (Woolf 1969: 6) 140 Comparison of extracts from ‘Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street’ and Mrs Dalloway (Woolf 1969: 7–8) 143 Comparison of extracts from ‘Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street’ and Mrs Dalloway (Woolf 1969: 16) 146 Indefinite figures and metaphor worlds in ‘Forgetfulness’ 206 The text-world configuration of ‘Forgetfulness’ 208 The modalities of communication 233 Descriptive framework for paralinguistic vocal features 234 A sample of concordance lines for looking at in Bleak House 259 MicroConcord search for ‘sought a’ 266 Results of the search string ‘but a *ed’ in the Times corpus 269 KWIC concordance of the contexts for ‘what can I but *’ 271 COCA concordances for ‘now that my * is’ 278 Results for ‘atmosphere’ in school essays in the BNC 361 Results for ‘tone’ in the BNC’s ‘school essays’ and ‘academic arts writing’ contexts 362 Ambience as dominion tracing 368 Three types of iconicity 379 ‘Depressie 1’ and an extract from ‘Depressie 2’ by Antjie Krog with author’s English translation 388 Revised metafunctions of language and their relationship to meaning 470


Figure 31


illocution and perlocution Consensual and individual meaning Transcript from Loose Women television programme Mo Farah Nike advertisement KWIC display for ‘I love’ in Cameron corpus KWIC display for ‘actually’ in Cameron corpus KWIC display for ‘big government’ in Cameron corpus Figure 35


Marc Alexander is Lecturer in English Language at the University of Glasgow

His research interests encompass the stylistics of popular fiction,

digital humanities and meaning studies

He has published widely in these fields,

including co-authored contributions to Language and Style (ed

McIntyre and Busse,

Palgrave Macmillan,

Bernaerts et al

University of Nebraska Press,

Joe Bray is Reader in Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield

His research interests include eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century narrative style,

textual culture and experimental literature

He is the author of The Epistolary Novel: Representations of Consciousness (Routledge,

Beatrix Busse is Professor in the Department of English at the RuprechtKarls-Universita¨t Heidelberg

Her research interests include historical English linguistics,

corpus linguistics and stylistics

She is author of Vocative Constructions in the Language of Shakespeare (John Benjamins,

Patricia Canning is Teaching Assistant and researcher at Queen’s University Belfast

Her research encompasses cognitive stylistics,

literary theory and phenomenology

She has contributed to the journal Language and Literature and won the Poetics and Linguistics Association Prize in 2008

She is author of Style in the Renaissance: Language and Ideology in Early Modern England (Continuum,

Ronald Carter is Research Professor of Modern English Language at the University of Nottingham

His research specialisms include linguistics and literary criticism

applied linguistics and language education

the teaching of English in schools

discourse and corpus linguistics

He has written and edited more than 50 books and 100 academic papers in these fields

List of contributors

Jonathan Charteris-Black is Professor in Linguistics at the University of the West of England

He has published extensively in the areas of figurative language,

cognitive semantics and English for specific purposes

Recent monographs include Politicians and Rhetoric: The Persuasive Power of Metaphor (Palgrave Macmillan,

Gender and the Language of Illness (Palgrave Macmillan,

Discourse and Metaphor (Palgrave Macmillan,

Billy Clark is Reader in English Language and Linguistics at Middlesex University London

His research centres on the fields of linguistic semantics and pragmatics,

including prosodic meaning and stylistics

He has published widely on these subjects and is author of Relevance Theory (Cambridge University Press,

Tracy Cruickshank is Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University Leicester

Her research centres on the representation of space and place in play texts and performance,

with a particular focus on contemporary British drama

She has co-authored papers in the Journal of Literary Semantics and Interactive Storytelling (ed

Aylett et al


Barbara Dancygier is Professor in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia

Her research interests include cognitivelinguistic approaches to metaphor and literary discourse

She is co-author of Mental Spaces in Grammar: Conditional Constructions (Cambridge University Press,

Alan Durant is Professor of Communication in the School of Law at Middlesex University London

His research interests include the language and regulation of media

He is author of Meaning in the Media: Discourse,

Controversy and Debate (Cambridge University Press,

Catherine Emmott is Reader in English Language at the University of Glasgow

Her central research interests are the mental processing of text,

She has published widely in these areas and is the author of Narrative Comprehension: A Discourse Perspective (Oxford University Press,

Brain and Narrative (Cambridge University Press,

Olga Fischer is Professor of Germanic Languages at the University of Amsterdam

Her research focuses on historical English linguistics and language change,

including grammaticalisation phenomena and iconicity

She has published widely in these fields and is the co-editor of the Iconicity in Language and Literature series (John Benjamins)

Joanna Gavins is Reader in Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield

Her research centres on the interactions between language,

She has published widely within the disciplines of stylistics and cognitive poetics,

and is the author of Text World Theory: An Introduction (Edinburgh University Press,

List of contributors

Alison Gibbons is Senior Lecturer in Stylistics at De Montfort University Leicester

Her research interests include cognitive poetic approaches to experimental and multimodal literature

She is the author of Multimodality,

Cognition and Empirical Literature (Routledge,

Danielewski (Manchester University Press,

Christiana Gregoriou is Lecturer in English Language at the University of Leeds,

and specialises in the study of mind style and the poetics of deviance

She has published widely in stylistics and has authored several books including Language,

Ideology and Identity in Serial Killer Narratives (Routledge,

Geoff Hall is Professor of English at the University of Nottingham,


His research interests include literary stylistics and intercultural communication,

and he has published widely in these fields

He is author of Literature in Language Education (Palgrave,

forthcoming) and Chief Editor of the journal Language and Literature

Craig Hamilton is Associate Professor in English Cognitive Linguistics at the Universite´ de Haute-Alsace

His research interests include cognitive poetics and the cognitive rhetoric of metaphor

He has published widely in these fields,

including as a contributor to Rhetoric and Stylistics (ed

Ulla Fix et al

Mouton de Gruyter,

Patrick Colm Hogan is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Connecticut

His research interests include literary theory,

postcolonial and world literature,

and cognitive approaches to literature and narrative

He has published over 150 academic papers and 20 books,

including The Mind and Its Stories: Narrative Universals and Human Emotion (Cambridge University Press,

Lesley Jeffries is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Huddersfield

Her research encompasses the stylistics of literary and non-literary texts,

in particular the style of contemporary poetry and ideology in news reporting and political discourse

She has published extensively in these fields,

and her books include The Language of Twentieth Century Poetry (Palgrave Macmillan,

Manuel Jobert is Professor in English Linguistics at the Universite´ Jean Moulin Lyon 3

His research interests include English phonetics,

stylistics and conversation analysis

He is President of the Socie´te´ de Stylistique Anglaise and editor of E´tudes de Stylistiques Anglaises (ESA)

He is the author of a book on Edith Wharton (ANRP,

2010) and

List of contributors

Aspects of Linguistic Impoliteness (Cambridge Scholars,

He co-authored Transcrire l’anglais britannique & ame´ricain (Presses universitaires du Mirail-Toulouse,

Rodney H

Jones is Associate Professor and Head of English at City University,

Hong Kong

His main research interests include discourse analysis,

His recent books include Health and Risk Communication: An Applied Linguistic Perspective (Routledge,

the co-authored Understanding Digital Literacies (Routledge,

a textbook in Discourse Analysis (Routledge,

Marina Lambrou is Principal Lecturer in English Language and Communication at Kingston University London

Her research interests include the stylistics of literary and non-literary texts,

with a focus on narratives of personal experience and the study of language and media

She has published widely in these fields,

including co-authoring Language and Media (Routledge,

Benedict Lin is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham,


His research interests include applied linguistics and stylistics,

their pedagogical applications,

and the exploration of non-anglophone poetry in English and English translations of Chinese poetry

He has published widely in these fields,

including as contributor to Literature and Language Teaching (ed

Bill Louw is Chair of the English Department at the University of Zimbabwe

His research interests include semantic prosody,

corpus linguistics and the philosophy of language

He has published widely in these fields,

including as contributor to Perspectives on Corpus Linguistics (ed

Viana et al

John Benjamins,

Dan McIntyre is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Huddersfield

His research interests encompass stylistics,

corpus linguistics and the history of the English language

He has published extensively in these fields,

including the books Language and Style (Palgrave Macmillan,

He edits the Continuum Advances in Stylistics series

Michaela Mahlberg is Professor in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Nottingham

Her main research interests are in corpus linguistics and contextual approaches to meaning

She is author of Corpus Stylistics and Dickens’s Fiction (Routledge,

editor of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics and co-editor of the Corpus and Discourse series (Bloomsbury)

List of contributors

Jessica Mason is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham

Her research interests bridge cognitive linguistics and education,

and she is currently developing narrative interrelation theory (NIT) as a way of understanding the links we make between narratives and the impact this has upon the reading process

This includes working with schools on the application of NIT in literature classrooms

David S

Miall is Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta

His research interests include British Romantic literature,

reader response studies (in collaboration with Don Kuiken) including the role of feeling in literary reading,

humanities computing and the teaching of English

He has published more than 100 academic papers in these fields and is author of Literary Reading: Empirical and Theoretical Studies (Peter Lang,

Sara Mills is Research Professor in Linguistics at Sheffield Hallam University

Her research interests include feminist linguistics,

feminist postcolonial theory and critical theory

She has published extensively in these areas

her books include Feminist Stylistics (Routledge,

Gender and Politeness (Cambridge University Press,

Language and Sexism (Cambridge University Press,

Marija Milojkovic is Language Instructor in Contemporary English at the University of Belgrade

Her research interests include corpus stylistics and the language of poetry,

as well as corpus-driven translation

She has contributed to the Journal of Literary Semantics and to the journal Research in Corpus Linguistics,

and is co-author of Literary Worlds as Contextual Prosodic Theory and Subtext (John Benjamins,

Ruth Page is Reader in English at the University of Leicester

Her research interests bring together feminist narratology and the analysis of narratives in digital contexts

She has published extensively in these fields,

and is the author of Stories and Social Media: Identities and Interaction (Routledge,

David Peplow is Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University

His research interests centre on linguistic approaches to social interaction,

and in particular interaction within groups

He has published widely on the discourse of reading groups,

including as contributor to the journal Language and Literature and in Pragmatics and Literary Stylistics (ed

Chapman and Davies,


Mick Short is Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature at Lancaster University

His research centres on stylistic and corpus stylistic approaches to language,

including the representation of perspective

He has published numerous books and papers in the field,

and is co-author of Style in Fiction (Longman,

List of contributors

Plays and Prose (Longman,

He co-founded the Poetics and Linguistics Association and was the founding editor of its international journal,

Language and Literature

Paul Simpson is Professor of English Language at Queen’s University Belfast

He researches in many areas of English language and linguistics,

with an emphasis on applied linguistics

His books in stylistics and critical linguistics include Language,

Ideology and Point of View (Routledge,

Language Through Literature (Routledge,

Violeta Sotirova is Lecturer in Stylistics at the University of Nottingham

Her research interests centre on the narrative presentation of consciousness in modernist fiction

She has published widely in this field,

Lawrence and Narrative Viewpoint (Continuum,

Gerard Steen is Professor of Language Communication at the VU University Amsterdam

His main research interest is metaphor in discourse,

He has published more than 15 books,

collections and special issues,

as well as about 100 articles and book chapters in these fields

Peter Stockwell is Professor of Literary Linguistics at the University of Nottingham,

and a Fellow of the English Association

Among his work in stylistics is Texture: A Cognitive Aesthetics of Reading (Edinburgh University Press,

Cognitive Poetics (Routledge,

and the co-edited Language and Literature Reader (Routledge,

He has also published 11 other books and over 80 articles in stylistics,

sociolinguistics and applied linguistics,

and he edits the Routledge English Language Introductions series

Michael Stubbs is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Trier

His central areas of research are English phraseology,

text analysis and corpus semantics

He has published over 50 articles and chapters and is author of Text and Corpus Analysis: Computer-Assisted Studies of Language and Culture (Blackwell,

Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics (Blackwell,

Michael Toolan is Professor of English Language at the University of Birmingham

His research centres on the language of literature

He has published over 70 academic papers and his numerous books include Total Speech: An Integrational Linguistic Approach to Language (Duke University Press,

Language In Literature (1998),

Narrative (Routledge,

2nd edn,

and Narrative Progression in the Short Story: A Corpus Stylistic Approach (John Benjamins,

He is editor of the Journal of Literary Semantics

List of contributors

Katie Wales is Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham

Her research interests are wide-ranging and encompass stylistics,

Northern English dialectology and the discourse of spiritualist mediums

She has authored nearly 100 publications in these fields and her books include A Dictionary of Stylistics (Longman,

3rd edn,

Personal Pronouns in Present-Day English (Cambridge University Press,

Sara Whiteley is Lecturer in Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield

Her research focuses on textual effect and interpretation in relation to contemporary literature and from a cognitive poetic perspective

She has contributed articles to the journal Language and Literature and her article ‘Text World Theory,

Real Readers and Emotional Responses to The Remains of the Day’ won the 2012 Poetics and Linguistics Association prize


The editors and chapter authors would like to thank the following for permission to use copyright material: *

and his translators and editors Adam Sorkin and Lidia Vance,

and Bloodaxe Books for ‘Pure Pain’ from The Bridge (2004)

James Lasdun and publisher Jonathan Cape Ltd for ‘Plague Years’ from The Revenant (1995)

the estate of Ted Hughes and publishers Faber and Faber for ‘Hawk Roosting’ from Lupercal (1960)

Antjie Krog for ‘Depressie 1 and 2’ from Verweerskrif (2006)

Benjamin Zephaniah and Bloodaxe Books for ‘What Stephen Lawrence Taught Us’ from Too Black,

Too Strong (2001)

and Billy Collins for kind permission to reproduce ‘Forgetfulness’ from Questions About Angels (1991)

‘Going’ and excerpt from ‘Aubade’ from Collected Poems by Philip Larkin

reprinted by permission of Farrar,

Strauss and Giroux,

LLC in the US and by permission of Faber Ltd elsewhere

Copyright in chapter 22 remains with the authors Catherine Emmott and Mark Alexander

“Student-Teacher News Is Still Key to Achievement,” extract reproduced in Chapter 5

From Detroit Free Press,

All rights reserved

Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States

The printing,

or retransmission of this Content without express written permission is prohibited

Stylistics is the proper study of literature

We mean this in several senses


It is special and specialised

It is delineated by rules and principles,

And for the evaluative sense of ‘proper’,

we also do mean to suggest that it is ethically superior to other,

non-stylistic forms of literary study

We insist that any approach to literary study that does not engage closely with the language in which the literary work appears is by definition indirect,

The word stylistics carries a strong sense of its recent etymology,

inheriting a detailed interest in style from its French stylistique and German Stilistik ancestors in the 1950s and 1960s

Stylistics in the English language emerged as a British–American field in the late 1960s,

and then developed with a northern European and Australian focus throughout the succeeding decades

There has been a steady broadening of the domain encompassed by the notion of ‘style’ throughout this period


stylistic features of a text were restricted to the narrow linguistic elements at the levels of phonetic arrangement,

morphology and lexical choice,

semantics and syntax up to the level of the clause and sentence

Even a restriction of a literary discussion to these features has never made such a discussion formalist,

to the extent of disregarding matters of performance,

artistic design and aesthetic effect


it was easy for others to disparage stylistics on this basis as having a narrow,

Those working in early stylistics regarded themselves very strongly as part of a European tradition of textual commentary and theory

Continuities and common concerns were perceived with the Russian Obshchestvo Izucheniia Poeticheskogo Yazyka (the Society for the Study of Poetic Language

the so-called ‘Formalists’),

with the Prague School and the French Structuralists,

and with the New Critics in the USA

For monoglot English-speakers,

the influence of the polemical


positions of this last group was certainly the loudest,

and prohibitions against authorial intention,

creative design and artistic production on the one hand and readerly interpretation,

emotional response and aesthetic value on the other were easily transferred to stylistics by its critics and also perhaps by some of its practitioners

In the meantime,

a related tradition in German-speaking and northern European countries was developing in which close relationships between rhetoric,

stylistics and hermeneutic interpretation were being theorised and practised

Simultaneously in France a highly interpretative practice of stylistic explication,

with an emphasis on the relationships between discourse and conscious meaning,

These two movements – largely invisible to the monoglot – can certainly not be regarded as decontextualised or formalist at all

As linguistics developed after the Chomskyan revolution of the 1960s,

stylisticians enthusiastically picked up the latest advances in the field

The growth of text linguistics and functional grammar in the 1970s and 1980s offered analytical tools for exploring larger,

longer and more complex literary works

The expansion of pragmatics and sociolinguistics around the same time offered similar opportunities for a systematic account of meaningfulness and interpretation

Generative grammar – with its focus on deep structure and relative disinterest in surface features of language – proved itself incapable of advanced stylistic analysis and disappeared from the stylistician’s armoury during the 1970s,

to be replaced almost exclusively until recently with systemicfunctional linguistics

Since the early 1990s,

stylistics has been supercharged not only by further advances in these fields but also by the refinements of quantitative computational methods and by the cognitive turn that has affected almost all arts and humanities research

The use of computers and software programs to work efficiently through vast swathes of language data (as corpus linguistics) has revolutionised the study of language

Our understanding of all aspects of language has been radically affected as a result

New grammars based on spoken forms have been produced,

and new dictionaries set out not only the meanings of words as they are actually used in context but also the meanings and usages of phrases,

idioms and even particular syntactic sequences

Stylisticians have been able to create digital versions of literary texts,

of all the works of an author or period or genre,

and devise search-mechanisms to discover features across all of this material

Corpus-stylistic studies can confirm or reject intuitive assertions made by literary scholars

they can provide measured evidence for detailed stylistic analyses

and they can even capture textual features that are so diffused across a long text that they might only be felt subliminally or subconsciously

Many researchers who have been key figures in the development of corpus linguistics have also had a central interest in literature,


In parallel with these developments,

work broadly in cognitive science has had a huge impact on linguistics and therefore naturally on stylistics too

Many of the advances in cognitive science have involved matters of language,

and cognitive linguists and cognitive psychologists have been most significant in the development of the field

Much of the key research in cognitive linguistics focused on features that have been of interest to literary stylisticians,

such as metaphor and foregrounding

Many researchers who consider themselves straightforwardly as cognitive linguists have also included several literary examples in their work

At the same time,

cognitive psychologists were developing an understanding of projected situations and imagined worlds that had obvious relevance to literary fiction

A cognitive poetics has emerged largely as a discipline very closely associated with stylistics,

to the extent that it is difficult to say which discipline encompasses the other

When stylisticians have drawn on insights from cognitive science,

we have been able to offer analyses of readerly knowledge and experience,

and the valuations of social significance and personal affect

All of these traditions are represented in this Handbook

As you read through the surveys and discussions,

arguments and practical analyses in these chapters,

it should become clear that stylistics as the discipline of English studies has been elsewhere during the recent history of literary scholarship in the academy

While literary criticism was having a crisis of theory and methodology,

stylistics remained largely distant from these debates

Stylisticians were often also the people who taught the courses in English language and linguistics in departments of literature,

and so were not regarded as active combatants by their literary colleagues

To a certain extent,

this allowed stylistics to carry on unperturbed by the waves of theoretical argument that disturbed literature departments,

though of course most stylisticians were aware of the nature of those discussions

Many noted with either irritation or wry amusement the attempts to discuss language by critics who had never conducted a fieldwork collection of language data,

never read any modern linguistics beyond the 1950s,

had little inkling of work in applied linguistics or sociolinguistics,

and never thought to engage in a descriptive account of what natural readers were doing when they read literature

Stylistics today is probably closer to the concerns of literary scholarship in the mainstream than it has ever been

This is a mutual convergence: stylistics has developed systematic ways of addressing matters of value,

aesthetics and cultural context

literary criticism has rediscovered matters of ‘form’ and the necessity of knowing about textuality in order to teach literature to students


there remains an uneasy complementarity

Literary criticism has largely settled into a form of cultural studies and historiography – essentially a literary branch of the discipline of history

The field of ‘English’ has thus been mostly vacated and left to


those who draw on other disciplines: the social and cognitive sciences on the one hand,

and the creative arts and industries on the other

Though stylistics largely occupies the former of these domains,

the connections with creative writing in terms of stylistic choice,

rhetorical patterning and readerly affect are striking and increasingly obvious

From this perspective,

it is an oddity that cultural literary studies remains central in departments of English across the world,

and surely this will eventually be corrected

Already it is apparent that there is a demand for an integrated language and literature curriculum being voiced from several sources including schools,

students and second-language learners who see it as empowering,

from governments and employers who see it as a defined set of skills and tangible training,

and from academics who perhaps would like to have their work professionalised and raised in prestige

The situation,

Stylistics is strongest in Britain and northern Europe,

with inroads across southern Europe,

eastern Europe and the Middle East

It is also a strong presence generally in the English-speaking or English-using world,

from Australia and New Zealand,

across the Indian sub-continent,

and throughout east and south-east Asia

For historical and institutional reasons that are addressed by several contributors to this Handbook,

stylistics has remained until very recently neglected in North America and particularly in the USA


we must remember that stylistics goes by different names across the world,

and any of the following labels usually refers to analytical practices that are recognisable as stylistics: literary linguistics,

English language studies,

cultural stylistics and cognitive poetics

Though stylistics is unlikely to be seen as a course title in the USA very soon,

there is a great deal of activity in cognitive rhetoric,

composition and cognitive approaches to literature,

and towards a science of literary analysis that would certainly be recognisable to stylisticians elsewhere in the world

As a discipline,

evidential and textually grounded

It is progressive in the sense that frameworks and approaches that are tried out and shown not to work are generally abandoned in favour of a better analysis: so in the 1970s it became apparent that generative grammar could not provide a stylistic account,

and almost no one these days tries to return to it

Compare literary scholarship,

where archaeological oddities or poetic expressions that have been superseded as scientific models (such as psychoanalysis,

or an understanding of language from the early twentieth century) are still used as the basis for apparently serious literary commentary

Stylistics is systematic in several senses

Models for analysis tend to be part of larger methodological domains,

so features of language are viewed within a generally consistent theory of language

The method of stylistics is also systematic in that the terms of the analytical


framework are clearly set out first and then applied rigorously

The method does not emerge from the analysis


the objects of investigation (stylistic features or readerly effects) are available for investigation in the world outside the domain of stylistics: in other words,

stylistic features are not constructed by the process of analysis itself

While it cannot be said that stylistics is objective (except in very narrowly restricted and non-interesting matters of linguistic facts),

it is certainly an intersubjective discipline

Stylistic descriptions have a tradition towards transparency and clarity in their exposition

This is perhaps a legacy of the pedagogic basis of many stylisticians as English-language or second-language teachers

As a stylistician you are regarded as a good practitioner if you can be clearly understood even by new students of the discipline

Obfuscation and deliberate obscurity are not well regarded,

and stylisticians prefer a common currency of technical terminology rather than a personal vocabulary or the false scholasticism of ‘scare-quotes’ round ordinary language terms as a marker of false profundity

Stylistic explanations aim towards a form of replicability,

This represents the influence of a scientific approach to investigation,

where the only valid statements are falsifiable ones

This is not straightforward when dealing with the subjective and perhaps idiosyncratic effects of foregrounding or readerly construal: two readings of the same text might generate different stylistic analyses


stylistics aims to be intersubjective,

and analytical explanations are offered in an open and transparent articulation precisely so that later readers and stylisticians can see the working of the analysis and compare it with their own work or reading response

The aim is to present yourself not as the most interestingly eccentric and innovative reader,

but as someone who presents a generalisable and recognisable explanation of literary effects

It is self-evident that stylistics is evidential,

in that stylistic arguments are only presented for verification if they are accompanied by data from the literary work or reading

The authority of the stylistician or the rhetorical skill of the account does not determine the success of the argument as stylistics

Even where stylistic work draws heavily on psychology rather than linguistics,

the predominant source of the supporting evidence is grounded in the text itself,

associations and consequences that are clearly defined as arising from the text itself

In this sense,

and for all its other aliases,

stylistics retains a central emphasis on style as its validating principle

Back in 1991,

one of the contributors to this volume suggested that there could not be a handbook of stylistics because,

the practice had no agreed methodology,

no clear sense of the field – in other words,

it could not be said to be a discipline

In this sense,

it echoed the famous distinction made by Henry



who observed in 1975 that English was a subject and linguistics was a discipline

Stylistics could not be encapsulated in a handbook because it was not sufficiently disciplinary,

and still drew its ethos from literary scholarship,

even though the two sat in an uneasy relationship with each other

We believe this perspective is no longer true,

and the Handbook in front of you demonstrates the proof of that

It is arranged into five parts

These reflect the slightly different audiences that might pick up the book,

and we have tried to look in several directions at once

In Part I,

our contributors set out and explore the discipline of stylistics

That stylistics is a coherent discipline is sometimes obscured by the fact that eclecticism is held as a central principle by many stylisticians

In other words,

there has always been an artisanal edge to practice in the field,

and this means that stylistic work has often proceeded on a practical basis,

without being over-anxious about theoretical or philosophical issues

There has very much been a sense among stylisticians that if a particular linguistic model can contribute some insight to the literary text in hand,

Stylisticians are sometimes wed closely to particular linguistic models or approaches,

but more often than not will adapt frameworks from across the range of available linguistic scholarship


stylisticians generally do not seem to feel themselves tied to a particular literary historical period or mode,

as literary critics tend to organise themselves both intellectually and institutionally

There is a risk,

in exploring the language of Geoffrey Chaucer one day and Raymond Chandler the next,

but there are also benefits of insight and comparison to be gained,

as well as a degree of intellectual agility being exercised

Having said this,

there have been many notable and serious statements over the years that seek to position stylistics as a theoretically rigorous as well as a productive practice

In the past,

these have been rather defensive and reactive,

often produced in response to a critique from outside the discipline

Michael Toolan opens this collection with an argument and discussion that is not at all defensive,

but is perhaps more subtle and open to wider theoretical and critical viewpoints

We take this easiness and calmness as a sign of maturity in the field


Katie Wales,

queries our remit of setting out the ‘tool-kit’ of stylistics,

preferring again a more complex and nuanced view of the stylistic method,

while recognising that there is a discernible and coherent methodological approach in the work of most stylisticians

The other four chapters of this first section of the book turn the field over in different dimensions,

viewing it from related aspects

Michael Stubbs takes the domain of quantitative methods as a major theme in stylistic work

He considers both the nature of textual evidence,

and its theoretical relationship with literary reading

his thinking stands as an interesting counterpoint to the two previous chapters

Craig Hamilton


considers stylistics as part of the millennia-old practice of rhetoric,

delineating a direct thread from ancient observations about style and performance to our modern thinking informed by the sciences of linguistics,

Lastly in this orientating section,

Ronald Carter and Geoff Hall reflect on the nature of stylistics as a form of applied linguistics and as literary criticism,

Part II of the book takes the latter perspective and sets out a series of contributions on themes that are of particular interest for students and scholars of literature

We set our contributors a range of concepts commonly discussed in literary commentary,

in order to gain an insight into these concepts from a rigorous stylistic perspective

In Beatrix Busse’s work on genre,

Patrick Colm Hogan on intertextual allusion,

and Violeta Sotirova on literary production and intentionality,

we can see the extent to which modern stylistics can address issues that have traditionally been considered to be far beyond the confines of textuality

These are core themes in contemporary literary scholarship

We also consider the interests of non-academic but engaged literary observers and students in addressing key notions that most people outside universities and colleges talk about: character (in Dan McIntyre’s chapter),

narrative voice (in Christiana Gregoriou’s),

and the nature of plots and their echoes in a reader’s other experience (in Jessica Mason’s)

Lastly in this section,

we return to the key foundational notion of literary defamiliarisation with Joanna Gavins and view it afresh from a contemporary cognitive stylistic angle,

and we take examples of canonical literary texts and view their intensity and power through a similar approach by Barbara Dancygier

In Part III of the book,

we turn to the interests of readers primarily concerned with linguistics and its application to literary texts

We focus on stylistic techniques and key features,

with an arrangement of chapters that is intended to recall classic stylistics in moving up the linguistic rank scale from phonology,

to matters of transitivity and pragmatics,

up to text and discourse-level features such as metaphor,

Manuel Jobert begins with a reconsideration of the relationship between sound and text in an examination of paralinguistic vocal features in literature

Michaela Mahlberg uses corpus stylistics to explore the local grammars in Dickens

Bill Louw and Marija Milojkovic also draw on corpus linguistics in order to discuss subtle matters of subtextual meaning

Paul Simpson and Patricia Canning show how matters of grammatical transitivity contribute to viewpoint,

actions and descriptions in a range of literary examples

Billy Clark explores inference from a pragmatics perspective

At an even more discourse-based level,

Gerard Steen explores metaphor across a poem,

Catherine Emmott and Marc Alexander discuss foregrounding and its opposite ‘burying’ in detective fiction

Mick Short distils four decades of stylistic experience in his discussion of dialogue presentation

And Peter Stockwell aims to develop a stylistic account of the most rarefied


and subliminal effects of textual ambience,

by drawing on both corpus linguistics and cognitive grammar

In Part IV of the book,

we adopt a perspective alongside the natural reader of literature,

to explore the contextual experience of reading

Olga Fischer considers the central feature for stylistics of iconic connections between form and meaning in literary texts

Sara Whiteley develops a cognitive poetic account of how readers and characters are ethically positioned

Alison Gibbons shows that the stylistics of fictionality can offer a rich account even of experimental texts such as mobile interactive narratives

David Miall places the feelings and emotions of literary readers centrally in his empirical stylistic focus

Ruth Page shows how the analysis of narrative structure provides insight into the connections between a real-world narrative and its creative literary reflection

Tracy Cruickshank demonstrates that stylistic analysis also brings a fresh view to literary work on drama and performance

Lesley Jeffries proposes a model of communication to address again the important relationship between analysis and interpretation

And Joe Bray shows how stylistic analysis can make historical literary criticism richer and more evidential


the chapters in this section demonstrate in practical terms how the key questions for literary readers can be sharpened or resolved by a stylistic sensibility


Part V,

recognises that stylistics has developed closely alongside applied linguistics and critical discourse analysis

Though the centre of gravity of the discipline has been literary stylistics,

there is a great deal of work that shares the same approaches and methods in the analysis of other sorts of discourses

Some of these can be regarded as semi-literary,

perhaps like certain advertising or media texts

All of the chapters in Part V demonstrate the continuities and the points of differentiation between literary and other sites of language

Marina Lambrou and Alan Durant show that a media stylistics can fruitfully adapt many of the same features and methods in evidence across the rest of this book

Rodney Jones looks at how a stylistic analysis of advertising discourse can reveal issues of genre,

Jonathan Charteris-Black takes an expansive view of the style of politicians,

encompassing a close corpus analysis of deixis,

pronouns and other inclusive and exclusive markers,

and even taking in gender-projection as political image-making

Sara Mills explores the social differentiation of gender and power in personal relationships through a precise analysis of a contemporary novel

Benedict Lin considers the crucial importance of stylistic training in a translation of a Chinese poem

David Peplow draws on discourse analysis to show the continuities between creative and everyday patterns of conversation

It should be apparent from these examples that there is a mutually reinforcing and positive feedback mechanism between literary stylistics and its fellow-disciplines in applied linguistics,

media studies and critical discourse analysis


We end the book with a short reflective coda,

in the form of an editorial dialogue about stylistics,

its place in the world and its future

This format has been adopted explicitly in a few other chapters in the book: in Chapter 6,

we interviewed Ronald Carter and recorded the conversation

Bill Louw and Marija Milojkovic conduct a written assertionand-critique discussion

In truth,

all of the chapters in this book have been the result of conversations,

criticisms and further thinking

Our intention in presenting some chapters in the form of a Socratic dialogue is partly to reflect this co-operative endeavour in the discipline of stylistics,

and also to echo the fact that the field has an ancient and rich pedigree

Some chapters are principally theoretical and reflective in tone,

and others are eminently practical

Almost all of them include an exemplary piece of stylistic analysis

The set of literary works covered is wide ranging: there is extended treatment,

Joseph Conrad,

Khushwant Singh,

Virginia Woolf,

Dennis Potter,

the crime writing and detective fiction of Agatha Christie and John Boyne,

Stephen Chbosky,

William Golding,

Billy Collins,

William Wordsworth,

Edith Wharton,

Charles Dickens,

David Lynch,

Miranda July,

Emily Dickinson,

James Lasdun,

Julia Darling,

Marin Sorescu,

Colum McCann,

Seamus Heaney,

John Keats,

John Fowles,

Ted Hughes,

Antjie Krog,

Kazuo Ishiguro,

Blast Theory,

William Blake,

Graham Greene,

Benjamin Zephaniah,

Richard Bean,

Jez Butterworth,

Peter Sansom,

Jane Austen,

Christos Tsiolkas and others

What is striking and astonishing about this list is its historical range,

hyperfiction and art installations,

and its non-differentiation between high canonical and more populist literary works

There are also numerous shorter treatments or examples drawn from,

Bertolt Brecht,

Roald Dahl,

Louis de Bernie`res,

Henry James,

James Kelman,

Brett Easton Ellis,

Sebastian Faulks,

Lewis Carroll,


Ian McEwan,

Jack Kerouac,

John Le Carre´,

David Mitchell,

James Joyce,

Bob Dylan and so on

We have aimed to provide a handbook of stylistics that stands as a practical guide,

a source of reflection and critical engagement,

a showcase for the discipline,

and a shining example for literary criticism,

applied linguistics and in fact anyone interested in language and literature

Whenever we have taught stylistics to students encountering it for the first time,

we have seen revelation light up in their faces: here is a way of approaching literary scholarship that is professional,

The discipline of stylistics

The theories of stylistics A chapter on the theory of stylistics should describe ‘that department of an art or technical subject which consists in the knowledge or statement of the facts on which it depends,

or of its principles or methods,

as distinguished from the practice of it’ (OED definition of theory)

which underpin and justify the practices of stylistics

I believe,

that an enquiry into the theory of stylistics should address


I will not discuss style itself,

as a concept or theory (see Lang 1987

Nagy 2005),

nor attempt a full survey of stylistic history and practice (Nørgaard et al

Wales 2011),

nor comment on theoretical studies of specific aspects of style (e

those on poetic rhythm and metre from Attridge 2005

Cureton 2001

Fabb et al

Nor do I address the theories of stylistics,

or applications of linguistics in the study of verbal art that have developed even in closely related traditions such as those of French or German academia,

let alone more distant ones such as in India or China


I discuss a much smaller fie

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