Literary stylistics: pedagogical perspectives in an EFL context

Ghazalah, Hasan (1987) Literary stylistics: pedagogical perspectives in an EFL context. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis in concerned with literary stylistics and the interpretation of literary texts in an EFL context. It has the ultimate pedagogical objective of helping non-native students of English to become sensative to stylistic features and functions and later to perform stylistic analysis and stylistic interpretation of texts.

For its significance in stylistics, and as the concentration is on literary composition, the element of 'literariness' is investigated first. This results from the interaction of the stylistic patterning of language and the stylistic functions created at different levels.

To show where stylistics stands among literary studies, and to set the scene for the whole thesis, four main approaches to literary texts, i.e. traditional literary criticism, practical criticism, the New Criticism, and formalism, are drawn against it. It is argued that stylistics is the more appropriate approach to the interpretation and appreciation of literary texts especially for non-native students/readers. Within this discipline, there are three major trends: literary stylistics, linguistic stylistics, and Stanley Fish's affective stylistics. The first one is considered superior to the other two for the comprehensiveness of its analytical methodology of short texts in particular, and for its undertaking of interpretation as the ultimate objective of analysis.

To substantiate that in practical terms, and at the same time to demonstrate to readers and students how stylistic analysis can be performed, a model of literary stylistic analysis is suggested. It is based on the consideration of the stylistically significant features of the structure of the layout (including clause and sentence structure, paragraphing and cohesion) and of lexis. It is the stylistic effects and functions produced by these features rather than the description of them which is more important. Mere description of language and style is not important in itself; instead, the primary task is to provide a descriptive account of our intuitions concerning the effects and functions produced on us by the text. This supplies a secure basis for interpreation of texts and for teaching interpretation.

Two twentieth century short stories The sisters, by James Joyce, and Enough, by Samuel Beckett are analysed separately to demonstrate how this model works and to show readers and students the way(s) of applying and performing it. Joyce and Beckett are well-known writers both here and abroad; their writings are included in university curricula. A stylistic study of two of their texts can be of help to the understanding of some aspects of their style. On the other hand, these two texts stand in contrast to one another in regard to their language organisation and mode of narrative discourse. Where the latter is deviant, the former is quite conventional. This is argued to be useful to the pedagogy of teaching stylistics.

Literary stylistics is described as the most convenient approach for non-native students of English literary composition. It is available to them, student-oriented and, therefore, initially more advantageous than an 'intentionalist approach', a 'historical/social and biographical approach', or 'culture-specific approaches'.

An articulation is provided of the aims and intentions of teaching literary stylistics to foreign students. The final and most important argument is for student-centred classroom pedagogical procedures. These include forms of linguistically systematic 'rewriting' which are used as a means to two ends: to sensitise students to language; and to demonstrate stylistic features and functions. Once they have achieved these objectives, they are deemed to have exhausted their usefulness. Fuller literary and contextual analysis can, then, be performed.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Carter, R.
Keywords: Literature, mass media, stylistics in literary studies, performing arts
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 11916
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2011 08:42
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 04:55

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