Chapter 9 Language and Literature
There is a very close relationship between language and literature. The part of linguistics that studies the language of literature is termed LITERARY STYLISTICS. It focuses on the study of linguistic features related to literary style.
9.1 Theoretical background
Our pursuit of style, the most elusive and fascinating phenomenon, has been enhanced by the constant studies of generations of scholars, “Style”, the phenomenon, has been recognized since the days of ancient rhetoric; “stylistic”, the adjective, has been with us since 1860; “stylistics”, the field, is perhaps the creation of bibliographers. (Dolores Burton, 1990) Helmut Hatzfeld was the first biographer of stylistics and his work in A Critical Bibliography of the New Stylistics (1953) was continued by Louis Milic’s Style and stylistics (1967), Richard Bailey and Dolores Burton’ s English Stylistics (1968) and James Bennett’ s A Bibliography of Stylistics and Related Criticism (1986). Until Helmut Hatzfeld brought out his bibiography the word “stylistics” had not appeared in the title of any English book about style although “stylistique” had appeared in French titles, beginning in 1905 with Charles Bally’s Traite de stylistique francaise. The distinction between the French “stylistique” (with implications of a system of thought) and the English “stylistics” ( with the connotation of science) reflects the trends manifested in the grouping of bibliographies from the more narrowly focused view of stylistics in the 1960s, when computer science and generative grammar led many to hope for more precise ways of describing their impressions of style, to Bennett’ s bibliography which covers books published from 1967 to 1983. The content of each preceding bibliography—Hatzfeld, Milic, Baiey and Burton—was driven by the compilers’ perception of a revolution in the field.Hatzfeld' s first bibliography (1952) was prompted in part by the “new studies in style investigation, which were...being produced by scholars like Karl Vossler, Leo Spitzer, Eugen Lerch, Charles Belly and others”. Milic saw the development of linguistics as a spur to a growing interest in the study of style. The work of Bailey and Burton felt a need to find a common thread in a field characterized by a wide range of theories, methods, disciplines, and languages and described is as a “shared concern for the language of literature”. Bennett’ s work, while sharing with its predecessors a concern for “the theoretical or practical study of the language of literary works”, recognizes the reformer’ s zeal in recent developments in the field: “The old, indeed traditional conviction that literature has a cognitive and communicative function has come to the fore again and has freed the literary text from its artificial isolation”. The preceding discussion and other studies show that the 1960s witnessed the firm establishment of modern stylistics and ever since then the discipline has been developing at an enormous speed. As Carter and Simpson (1989) observed, at “the risk of overgeneralization and oversimplification, we might say that if the 1960s was a decade of formalism in stylistics, the 1970s a decade of functionalism and the 1980s a decade of discourse stylistics, then the 1990s could well become the decade in which socio-historical and socio-cultural stylistic studies are a main preoccupation.” At the present, according to Shen (2000), the most recent trends of development in stylistics are characterized by two major features. First, the socio-historical and socio-cultural stylistic studies are gaining momentum. Second, there is a trend of “plural-heads development”, i.e. different schools of stylistics compete for development and new schools emerge every now and then .
9.2 Some general features of the literary language
What seems to distinguish lirerary from non-literary usage may be the extent to which the phonological,...
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