Why does a headline capture our attention? An advert slogan stay long in our mind? A speech sway our opinion? A song carry our emotions away? A joke make us laugh? And a school text leave us blank? Essentially, it is because of the intricate workings of language; often, it is not so much what is said as how it is said that impresses us most. And this applies also to the language of literature. Rhyme and metaphor are not the exclusive property of poetry; while a poet can use the same words as an army officer or a salesperson. Literature shares many of the features of everyday language, and this course will take us through the language that is used in a spectrum of texts of differing degrees of literariness, including poems, plays, stories, songs, jokes, advertisements, political and religious communications, regulations, textbooks and technical manuals. We will examine how linguistic forms and literary devices are related to aesthetic effects and ideological functions. We will analyse how the choice and the patterning of words, sounds and images help convey and elicit feelings and thoughts, and views and values.
Topics are: Towards characterizing literary linguistics; Collocation, deviation and word play; Prosody, parallelism and performance; Discourse into discourse; Narration and representation of speech and thought; Reader positioning and response.
This course treats literature as discourse and introduces the theory and practice of stylistics. It is designed to equip students with the techniques for making a critical analysis of and an aesthetic response to the subtle workings of language in texts of differing degrees of literariness.
The course will comprise lectures, seminars and class activities
100% coursework consisting of:
- Individual essay (60%)
- Group project - oral presentation and written report (30%)
- Participation in class activities (10%)
There is no textbook, but the primary reading is Montgomery, M. , Durant, A., Fabb, N., Firmoss. T., & Mills, S. (2012). Ways of reading: Advanced reading skills for students of English literature (4th ed.). London: Routledge. This is available as an e-book through the library. Additional reading will be provided at the beginning of the course.