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Advanced textual analyses: the cases of poems, prose and plays

Dr. Codrua Goa


Stylistics Narratology Genre Cognitive linguistics Pragmatics

Unit 1: Stylistics
Key bibliographical resources: Short, M. 1996: Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose, London and New York: Longman

Verdonk, P. 2002: Stylistics, Oxford: Oxford University Press

What is stylistics?
a method of linking linguistic form, via reader inference, to interpretation in a detailed way and thereby providing as much explicit evidence as possible for and against particular interpretation of texts. (Short,

Key concept

Foregrounding a means by which an author of a text, consciously or unconsciously highlights the parts which he considers crucial to our understanding of what s/he has written; an abnormal use of language;


Come, we burn daylight, ho

(William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)

Means of achieving foregrounding

Deviation Parallelism Style variation

Types of deviation (1)

Phonological and graphological: Love said God. Say Love. No, no, said God, Say Love. Now try it. LOVE. A final try, said God. Now, LOVE. (Ted Hughes, Crows First Lesson)

Types of deviation (1)

Lexical: The boys are dreaming wickedof the night and the jollyrodgered sea. (Dylan Thomas,Under Milk Wood)

Types of deviation (1)

Semantic (figures of speech) Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart Push in their tides; (Dylan Thomas, Light Breaks Where no Sun Shines)

Types of deviation (1)

Morphological (at the level of morpheme): perhapsless mystery of paradise (e.e. cummings, from spiralling ecstatically this)

Types of deviation (1)

Grammatical (Syntactic, at sentence level): And there are so many stories to tell, too many, such an excess of intertwined lives events miracles places rumours, so dense a commingling of the improbable and the mundane! (Salman Rushdies Midnight Children)

Types of deviation (1)

Discoursal: - Think you are in Heaven? Well youll soon be In H E L L (Michael Horovitz; Man-to-Man-Blues)

Types of Deviation (2)

External Internal

Yes is a pleasant country (fragment) cummings(1894 - 1962) yes is a pleasant country: if's wintry (my lovely) let's open the year both is the very weather (not either) my treasure, when violets appear


love is a deeper season than reason; my sweet one (and april's where we're)

Repetition and parallelism Simple repetition: deviation The repetition of one word or structure: Blow, blow, though winter wind () Come hither, come hither, come hither. (Shakespeare, As You

Parallelism A different method of foregrounding where: Some features are held constant (usually structural features) while others (usually lexical items, e.g. words, idioms are varied). In other words: the repetition of grammatical structures (parallel structures) while varying the meanings of the words repeated. The parallelism rule for interpretation: invites the reader to search for meaning connections between parallel structures, in particular, in terms of the parts which are varied (Short, 1996, p.14)

She is a woman, therefore may be wooed, She is a woman, therefore may be won, She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved. (William Shakespeares Titus Andronicus)

Love is (Adrian Henri)

Love is feeling cold in the back of vans Love is a fanclub with only two fans Love is walking holding paintstained hands Love is Love is fish and chips on winter nights Love is blankets full of strange delights Love is when you dont put out the lights Love is

Love is presents in Christmas shops Love is when youre feeling Top of the Pops Love is what happens when the music stops Love is Love is white panties lying all forlorn Love is pink dresses still slightly warm Love is when you have to leave at dawn Love is

Love is you and love is me Love is a prison and love is free Loves whats there when youre away from me Love is

Chronological Injustice (Raymond Brooks)

She came. She saw. She thought. She said. She did. Shes gone for good!

Love (Roger McGough)

40 middle couple ten when game and go the will be tween love aged playing nis the ends they home net still be them