EL3221: Literary Stylistics
1st Tutorial

Discusssion date: 23rd August 2005

You need to know the material covered in the notes to lecture one in order to do this tutorial. You also need to bring in your knowledge of linguistics from your other courses for some of the questions. Some references are given at the end of this handout.

Project: Discussion on forming of groups

Tutorial Questions:

1) What is style? Which particular definition of style do you agree with? Do you feel that one should have a collection of definitions instead of one single definition? Illustrate the viability of your definition or definitions by referring to the given passages. You need to also refer to the readings below to answer this question.

2) How can linguistic analysis help in the analysis of style? You can attempt to answer this question by briefly dealing with the given passages in relation to some linguistic features that you know.

3) In addition to linguistic analysis, are you also dependent on literary criticism and discourse analysis in your analysis of style? You may bring in your knowledge of literary criticism from the literature and discourse analysis courses/modules you have done in answering this question. How much of the terminology of literary criticism do you know? You may want to take a look at my Brief List of Some Key Terms in Literature to answer this question.

4) Comment on the relationship between grapho-metric, orthographic, and grammatical features of the poem. Do you feel that it is sufficient to measure the relative sizes of these units and to mention whether they are a good fit to each other? Or should you evaluate or interpret the significance of these features in relation to the poem as a whole? What are the evaluative or interpretive factors you consider when you analyse the grapho-metric, orthographic, and grammatical features of the given sonnet?

5) Why do you think Halliday excludes a discussion of grapho-metric features in the second edition of his Introduction? Do you think this is because grapho-metric features cannot, strictly speaking, be described as grammatical? If this is the case, why does Halliday continue to discuss phonological features in his second edition? From your understanding of the term as it is used in other modules, is phonology related to grammar?

6) Have you any difficulty with the rather archaic language and/or spelling used in the given poem? Does the language or spelling have any effect on the poem's style?

7) Is there any difference in the analysis of poetry when compared to the analysis of prose? You can briefly compare the two given passages.

8) From what you know of sentence construction, make one or two observations on the sentences of the prose passage. Do you feel that the way the author constructs his sentences may be a barrier to one's understanding of the passage? Or does he do this in order to imbue the passage with a particular style?

9) Will there be any differences in your approach in the stylistic analysis of literature when compared to your approach in the analysis of literature in practical criticism and in your other literature courses/modules in general?

Texts for Analysis:


As in a duskie and tempestuous Night,
A Starre is wont to spreade her Lockes of Gold, 2
And while her pleasant Rayes abroad are roll'd
Some spitefull Cloude doth robbe us of her Sight:  4
(Faire Soule) in this black Age so shin'd thou bright,
And made all Eyes with Wonder thee beholde, 6
Till uglie Death depriving us of Light, 
In his grimme mistie Armes thee did enfolde 8
Who more shall vaunt true Beautie heere to see?
What Hope doth more in any Heart remaine, 10
That such Perfections shall his Reason raine?
If Beautie with thee borne too died with thee? 12
Worlde, plaine no more of Love, nor count his Harmes
With his pale Trophees Death hath hung his Armes. 14

. . Young Fledgeby had a peachy cheek, or a cheek compounded of the peach and the red red red wall on which it grows, and was an awkward, sandy-haired, small-eyed youth, exceeding slim (his enemies would have said lanky) and prone to self-examination in the articles of whisker and moustache. While feeling for the whisker that he anxiously expected, Fledgely underwent remarkable fluctuations of spirits, ranging along the whole scale from confidence to despair. There were times when he started, as exclaiming, "By Jupiter, here it is at last!'' There were other times when, being equally depressed, he would be seen to shake his head and give up hope. To see him at those periods leaning on a chimney-piece, like as on an urn containing the ashes of his ambition, with the cheek that would not sprout upon the hand on which that cheek had forced conviction, was a distressing sight.


In addition to what I mentioned in my first lecture, you may find the discussion or definitions of style in the first chapter of Leech and Short's Style in Fiction useful. For more general accounts, see Enkvist's Linguistic Stylistics or the first chapter of Crystal and Davy's Investigating English Style. (All these books should be available in the RBR, and there are some copies of Crystal and Davy's book and one copy of Enkvist's on the open shelves).

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Last revised: 16 December 2005.