Literature and Creativity in English
This course provides a lively introduction to stylistic, sociolinguistic and multimodal analysis. It draws on work in literature and performance studies as well as English language studies.
This part of the course looks at texts designed for public consumption,
including: poetry, plays and novels, picture books, performance art, eliterature, and adverts. What distinguishes some of these texts as high quality literature while others are dismissed as ephemeral and of little lasting value? How are new types of technology enabling or even challenging our understanding of literary creativity and its different forms? And how far does considering the processes involved in reading and authoring literary texts help to illuminate these issues? This section of the course explores the idea that more ephemeral texts make creative use of a shared literary and cultural heritage. It also explores social and ideological issues, and the influence of historical processes and different cultural contexts on what counts as literary language and how this is understood.
This chapter establishes many of the key concepts and
perspectives used in the book and will enable readers
to begin articulating their responses to questions of
what constitutes literary creativity.
Simplicity and Technology
Activity I : Ariel’s song, text from a brochure for Nissan Micra car, a poem by Hart Seely, Peter Carey’s novel ,
the Guardian Newspaper, extract from Asian Dub
Foundation, 2000 (examples in page 5).
Creativity as an inherent in the text
Aristotle’s scientific approach of analysis.
How Creativity works
Three Approaches (Carter, 1999)
The inherency approach treats artistry as residing
within creative uses of language intrinsic within the
The sociocultural approach explores social and
ideological factors around the concept of ‘literature’
The cognitive approach shifts the focus into the ways
in which readers engage with literary, as opposed to
other kinds of texts.
Creativity As Inherent In the Text
Aristotle’s Poetics: Scientific analysis of the text.
Moscow, Leningrad, Prague School academic s.
Scholars from these schools viewed literary works as
self-contained aesthetic objects.
Biographical, historical, sociological or psychological
dimensions were irrelevant to define the form of
The early formalists focused on how poetic devices in
literature produce an effect which they called
ostraneniye (making strange) , or defamiliarisation.
Our routine ways of seeing and thinking are disrupted,
and our perceptions freshened , and our awareness of
the world heightened (Shklovsky, in Hawkes , 1977
Roman Jakobson is a central figure in both Formalism
and Prague School.
The Formalists were concerned with the poetic
function of the language, which they saw connected to
‘literarness’, and which they defined as the special
properties of language that could be located in literary
Jakobson’s Language Functions
The referential function is associated with the context of the message,
and it focuses on conveying information about the world beyond the communicative event.
The emotive (expressive) function is associated with the speaker/wrier , and it focuses on their attitude towards what they are speaking. The conative function is associated with the hearer/reader, and it is concerned with aspects of language designed to affect the hearer/reader in some way.
The phatic function is associated with the contact and it is fulfilled by language which is addressed at initiating , sustaining or closing the channel of communication.
The metalingual function is associated with the language code itself, an utterance performs a metalingual function when it...
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