HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF STYLISTICS
The aim of this paper is to trace the history and development of stylistics. In this task the paper will trace the historical development of stylistics through the following stages: The Classical Origins
The prague Linguistic circle
I.A. Richards and Practical Criticism
American New Criticism
Exploration in Non Literary stylistics
Systemic-functional linguistics and stylistics
The impact of pragmatics and Discourse Analysis
From Cognition to corpora
Stylistics can be said to have started in the form of rhetoric. Rhetoric, originally seen as the study of oratory and prose, developed in Greece in the 5th Century B.C. By the end of the 3rd and 2nd Century B.C. it had evolved into a systematic study. In Rome, rhetoric developed later, around the 1st century B.C. As a study classical rhetoric is associated with Aristotle of Greece and Cicero and Quintelian of Rome. Classical rhetoric entailed two stages: arrangement and verbal expression. Arrangement involved the organization of a speech into introduction, exposition, elaboration and finally conclusion. Verbal expression involved stylistic choices involving the choice of words (lexicon), the ordering of those words (syntax), the collocation of words on the basis of their meanings, figures of speech, and the rhetorical devices at the level of sentences. Certain forms of expression were seen as either classic or vulgar, where classic (elevated) belonged to the upper classes ad vulgar to the lower classes. These ideas were revived during the time of the Renaissance in Europe, from the 14th to the 16th Centuries, a period remembered for its artistic forms. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the novel emerged and the rhetorical devices became part of the style of prose. By the 19th century any work of prose that made use of the rhetorical devices of arrangement and verbal expression was known as elegant, and that which did not use the rhetorical devices was as inelegant in style. Another development that took place at this time was in the field of prosody. The traditional poetic composition made use of the relationship between stressed and unstressed syllables to create rhythmic patterns. The regularity rhythmic patterns are referred to as metre. By the 19th Century, prosody and rhetoric merged in the study of stylistic whereby rhetoric lost part of its prestige as the study of oratory or effective public speaking.
In the 1920s school literary theoreticians emerged in Russia who opposed the interpretations of literature which were based on intuition and the impressionsism arising out of one’s knowledge of the life-histoty of the author. The most well-known exponent of Russian Formalism was Roman Jacobson (1986-1982) whose work focused o n defining the qualities of poetic language. According to Jacobson, the poetic function of language is realized in those communicative acts where the focus is on the message for its own sake. The contribution of the Russian Formalists was two-fold:-
i. Their methodology took account of the features that distinguish a work art from other works; ii. They came up with a view of literary form that went beyond the purely linguistic choices to include strategies of organization.
The Prague Linguistic circle (Structuralism)
Roman Jacobson emigrated to Czeehoslovakia in 1920, where he began collaborating with Czech literary scholars such as Jan Mukarovsky (1891-1975), establishing the Prague Linguistic Cicle in 1926 which was to become famous as the birth plce of structuralism. Like Jacobson, Mukarovsky was interested in identifying formal and functional distinctiooooooons between literary and non-literary writing, noting that literary textx deviate from what he termed the ‘standard language’ (Mukarovsky, 1964). He theorized on the phenomenon which he called foregrounding. The analogy here was that certain linguistic features in...
References: Fowler (1996) Linguistic Criticism 2nd ed.Oxford University Press.London
Widdowson.H.G(1992Practical Stylistics. Oxford University Press. Oxford.
Richard Bradford(1993)A Linguistic History of English Poetry
Katie Wales (2001)A Dictionary in Stylistics, Pearson Education/
Please join StudyMode to read the full document