Chapter 9 Language and Literature. 1. Style and Stylistics. Style: variation in the language use of an individual, such as formal/informal style. Literary style: ways of writing employed in literature and by individual writers; the way the mind of the author expresses itself in words.
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1. Style and Stylistics • Style: variation in the language use of an individual, such as formal/informal style • Literary style: ways of writing employed in literature and by individual writers; the way the mind of the author expresses itself in words
Stylistics“studies the features of situationally distinctive uses (varieties) of language, and tries to establish principles capable of accounting for the particular choices made by individual and social groups in their use of language.” (Crystal 1980)
Stylistics is the study of varieties of language whose properties position that language in context. For example, the language of advertising, politics, religion, individual authors, etc., or the language of a period in time, all belong in a particular situation. In other words, they all have ‘place’.
Stylistics also attempts to establish principles capable of explaining the particular choices made by individuals and social groups in their use of language, such as socialisation, the production and reception of meaning, critical discourse analysis and literary criticism.
Other features of stylistics include the use of dialogue, including regional accents and people’s dialects, descriptive language, the use of grammar, such as the active voice or passive voice, the distribution of sentence lengths, the use of particular language registers, etc.
Many linguists do not like the term ‘stylistics’. The word ‘style’, itself, has several connotations that make it difficult for the term to be defined accurately. • However, in Linguistic Criticism, Roger Fowler makes the point that, in non-theoretical usage, the word stylistics makes sense and is useful in referring to an enormous range of literary contexts, such as John Milton’s ‘grand style’, the ‘prose style’ of Henry James, the ‘epic’ and ‘ballad style’ of classical Greek literature, etc. (Fowler, 1996: 185).
In addition, stylistics is a distinctive term that may be used to determine the connections between the form and effects 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.
Literary Stylistics:Crystal (1987) observes that, in practice, most stylistic analysis has attempted to deal with the complex and ‘valued’ language within literature, i.e. ‘literary stylistics’. • The scope is sometimes narrowed to concentrate on the more striking features of literary language, for instance, its ‘deviant’ and abnormal features, rather than the broader structures that are found in whole texts or discourses. • For example, the compact language of poetry is more likely to reveal the secrets of its construction to the stylistician than is the language of plays and novels.
Levels of analysis • Sound effects • Vocabulary • Phraseology • Grammar • Implicature
2. Foregrounding • The 1960 dream of high rise living soon turned into a nightmare.
Four storeys have no windows left to smash But in the fifth a chipped sill buttresses Mother and daughter the last mistresses Of that black block condemned to stand, not crash.
The red-haired woman, smiling, waving to the disappearing shore.She left the maharajah;she left innumerable other lights o’ passing lovein towns and cities and theatres and railway stations all over the world.But Melchior she did not leave.
2.1 What is ‘foregrounding’? • In a purely linguistic sense, the term ‘foregrounding’ is used to refer to new information, in contrast to elements in the sentence which form the background against which the new elements are to be understood by the listener / reader.
In the wider sense of stylistics, text linguistics, and literary studies, it is a translation of the Czech aktualisace (actualization), a term common with the Prague Structuralists. • In this sense it has become a spatialmetaphor: that of a foreground and a background, which allows the term to be related to issues in perception psychology, such as figure / ground constellations.
The English term ‘foregrounding’ has come to mean several things at once: • the (psycholinguistic) processes by which - during the reading act - something may be given special prominence; • specific devices (as produced by the author) located in the text itself. It is also employed to indicate the specific poetic effect on the reader; • an analytic category in order to evaluate literary texts, or to situate them historically, or to explain their importance and cultural significance, or to differentiate literature from other varieties of language use, such as everyday conversations or scientific reports.
Thus the term covers a wide area of meaning. • This may have its advantages, but may also be problematic: which of the above meanings is intended must often be deduced from the context in which the term is used.
2.2 Devices of Foregrounding • Outside literature, language tends to be automatized; its structures and meanings are used routinely. • Within literature, however, this is opposed by devices which thwart the automatism with which language is read, processed, or understood. • Generally, two such devices may be distinguished, deviation and parallelism.
Deviation corresponds to the traditional idea of poetic license: the writer of literature is allowed - in contrast to the everyday speaker - to deviate from rules, maxims, or conventions. • These may involve the language, as well as literary traditions or expectations set up by the text itself. • The result is some degree of surprise in the reader, and his / her attention is thereby drawn to the form of the text itself (rather than to its content). • Cases of neologism, live metaphor, or ungrammatical sentences, as well as archaisms, paradox, and oxymoron (the traditional tropes) are clear examples of deviation.
Devices of parallelism are characterized by repetitive structures: (part of) a verbal configuration is repeated (or contrasted), thereby being promoted into the foreground of the reader's perception. • Traditional handbooks of poetics and rhetoric have surveyed and described (under the category of figures of speech) a wide variety of such forms of parallelism, e.g., rhyme, assonance, alliteration, meter, semantic symmetry, or antistrophe.
3. Literal language and figurative language • Friends, Romans and Countrymen, lend me your ears… Anthony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
3.1 Simile O, my luve is like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June; O, my luve is like the melodie That’s sweetly play’d in tune. Robert Burns (1759-96)
3.2 Metaphor All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages… William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
3.3 Metonymy There is no armour against fate; Death lays his icy hand on kings; Sceptre and Crown Must tumble down And in the dust be equal made With the poor crooked Scythe and Spade. James Shirley (1596-1666)
3.4 Synecdoche They were short of hands at harvest time. (part for whole) Have you any coppers? (material for thing made) He is a poor creature. (genus for species) He is the Newton of this century.(individual for class)
Name the kind of trope: • The boy was as cunning as a fox. • ...the innocent sleep,... the death of each day's life,... (Shakespeare) • Buckingham Palace has already been told the train may be axed when the rail network has been privatised. (Daily Mirror, 2 February 1993) • Ted Dexter confessed last night that England are in a right old spin as to how they can beat India this winter. (Daily Mirror, 2 February 1993)
4. Analysis of literary language Foregrounding on the level of lexis Foregrounding on the level of syntax: word order, word groups, deviant or marked structures Rewriting for comparative studies Meaning Context Figurative language
5. The language of poetry Little Bo-peep Has lost her sheep And doesn’t know where to find them Leave them alone And they will come home Waggling their tails behind them
Fair is foul and foul is fairHover through wind and murky air Long burned hair brushesAcross my face its spiderSilk. I smell lavenderCinnamon: my mother’s clothes. Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King!
5.1 Forms of sound patterning • Rhyme • Alliteration • Assonance • Consonance • Reverse rhyme • Pararhyme • Repetition
Rhyme: • two words rhyme if their final stressed vowel and all following sounds are identical; • two lines of poetry rhyme if their final strong positions are filled with rhyming words. |Humpty |Dumpty |sat on a |wall |Humpty |Dumpty |had a great |fall |All the king’s |horses and |all the king’s |men |Couldn’t put |Humpty to|gether a|gain
Alliteration: repetition of the initial consonant of a word • Magazine articles:“Science has Spoiled my Supper” and “Too Much Talent in Tennessee?” • Comic/cartoon characters:Beetle Bailey, Donald Duck • Restaurants:Coffee Corner, Sushi Station • Expressions:busy as a bee, dead as a doornail, good as gold, right as rain, etc... • Music: Blackalicious' “Alphabet Aerobics”
Assonance: Repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences • The sound of the ground is a noun. • Hear the mellow wedding bells. (Poe) • And murmuring of innumerable bees (Tennyson) • The crumbling thunder of seas (Stevenson) • That solitude which suits abstruser musings (Coleridge) • Dead in da middle of littleItaly, littledid we know that weriddled some middle men who didn't do diddily. (Big Pun)
Consonance: The repetition of two or more consonants using different vowels within words. • All mammals named Sam are clammy • And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain (Poe) • Raprejects my tape deck, ejects projectile / Whether jew or gentile I ranktoppercentile. (Hip-hop music)
Reverse rhyme:CV C • Coca-Cola; Hoola hoops • Such storms can bring you to the brink of all you fearRestore what faith you can in faded hopes and feel • Pararhyme (Frame rhyme):C V C • Each sturdy steed-like soldier ranked the fieldWith fearsome faces seldom seen defiled • Rich Rhyme:CVC • What does it avail you to prevailin every affairWhen nothing you’ve gained can be regained as spiritual fare
Repetition: • “Words, words, words.” (Hamlet) • “This, it seemed to him, was the end, the end of a world as he had known it...” (James Oliver Curwood) • “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills…we shall never surrender.” (Winston Churchill) • “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
5.2 Stress patterning • Iamb: 2 syllables, unstressed + stressed • Trochee: 2 syllables, stressed + unstressed • Anapest: 3 syllables, 2 unstressed + stressed • Dactyl: 3 syllables, stressed + 2 unstressed • Spondee: 2 stressed syllables • Pyrrhic: 2 unstressed syllables
5.3 Metrical patterning • Dimetre: 2 feet • Trimetre: 3 feet • Tetrametre: 4 feet • Pentametre: 5 feet • Hexametre: 6 feet • Heptametre: 7 feet • Octametre: 8 feet
5.4 Conventional forms of metre and sound • Couplets: a pair of lines of verse, usually connected by a rhyme. It consists of two lines that usually rhyme and have the same meter. • Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,The droghte of March hath perced to the rooteAnd bathed every veyne in swich licour,Of which vertu engendred is the flour;(from Geoffrey Chaucer: Canterbury Tales– General Prologue)
Quatrains: Stanzas of four lines • Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? (from William Blake, “The Tyger”)
Blank verse: lines in iambic pentametre which do not rhyme Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves, And ye that on the sands with printless foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him When he comes back; you demi-puppets that By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make Whereof the ewe not bites; and you whose pastime Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid, Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimmed The noontide sun, called forth the mutinous winds, And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault Set roaring war - to the dread rattling thunder Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak With his own bolt;... (from Shakespeare: The Tempest, 5.1)
Sonnet: The term “sonnet” derives from the Provençal word sonet and the Italian word “sonetto,” both meaning “little song.” By the thirteenth century, it had come to signify a poem of fourteen lines that follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. • One of the most well known sonnet writers is Shakespeare, who wrote 154 sonnets. • The proper rhyme scheme for an English Sonnet is: a-b-a-b / c-d-c-d / e-f-e-f / g-g
Let me not to the marriage of true minds (a)Admit impediments, love is not love (b)Which alters when it alteration finds, (a)Or bends with the remover to remove. (b)O no, it is an ever fixed mark (c)That looks on tempests and is never shaken; (d)It is the star to every wand'ring bark, (c)Whose worth's unknown although his height be taken. (d)Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks (e)Within his bending sickle's compass come, (f)Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, (e)But bears it out even to the edge of doom: (f) If this be error and upon me proved, (g) I never writ, nor no man ever loved. (g) (Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 )
ROMEO: If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. JULIET: Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrim’s hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmer’s kiss. ROMEO: Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? JULIET: Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. ROMEO: O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. JULIET: Saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake. ROMEO: Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. (from Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet)
Free verse: styles of poetry that are not written using strict meter or rhyme, but that still are recognizable as poetry by virtue of complex patterns of one sort or another that readers will perceive to be part of a coherent whole. • The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panesLicked its tongue into the corners of the evening,Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,And seeing that it was a soft October night,Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.(from T. S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)
Limericks • The word derives from the Irish town of Limerick. Apparently a pub song or tavern chorus based on the refrain “Will you come up to Limerick?” where, of course, such bawdy songs or ‘Limericks’ were sung. • Limericks consist of five anapaestic lines. • Lines 1, 2, and 5 of Limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. • Lines 3 and 4 of Limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.
Variants of the form of poetry referred to as Limerick poems can be traced back to the fourteenth century English history. • Limericks were used in Nursery Rhymes and other poems for children. • But as limericks were short, relatively easy to compose and bawdy or sexual in nature they were often repeated by beggars or the working classes in the British pubs and taverns of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventh centuries. • The poets who created these limericks were therefore often drunkards! Limericks were also referred to as dirty.
Limerick poems have received incredibly bad press and dismissed as not having a rightful place amongst what is seen as ‘cultivated poetry’. The reason for this is three-fold: • The content of many limericks is often of a bawdy and humorous nature. • A Limerick as a poetry form is by nature simple and short – limericks only have five lines. • And finally the somewhat dubious history of limericks have contributed to the critics attitudes.
Limericks by Edward Lear • There was an Old Man with a beard,Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!Two Owls and a Hen,Four Larks and a Wren,Have all built their nests in my beard!’