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STYLISTICS AND POETRY

KHALID SHAMKHI

Key words: style, stylistics, poetry, foregrounding, model,


analysis.

1. Style
1.1. Definitions
The best way to begin the discussion of stylistics is to define its
subject matter, i.e., style. 'Style is elusive' , 'style is ambiguous', 'style is
confusing' etc. are very common ideas in introductory works on style,
which indicate the different interpretations of the term by theorists and
practitioners of linguistics, stylistics and, as far as literary style is
concerned, literary criticism. And as a thorough discussion of theories and
approaches so far taken to style requires too much space, this section
highlights only some general remarks about the concept of style. (For
more detailed and illustrative discussions, works cited in this section are
recommended).
Envikst (1973,14-15) suggests a number of principles as a basis for a
taxonomy of definitions. These principles involve: the relations between
the speaker/writer and the text in which case the personality and
environment of the people who have generated style provide the main
clues to it; the relations between the text and the listener/reader, whereby
"the receivers reactions to textual stimuli are more readily accessible to
study than are the generative impulses that motivated the sender of the

message." A third group of investigators have tried to take an objective


approach by eliminating references to the communicants at either end of
the communication process. For them, clues to style are sought in the
descriptions of the text, not in appeals to personalities. This necessitates
the use of objective methods to distinguish the stylistically significant
feature of a text from the non-stylistic ones.
Along another dimension, it has been suggested that all linguistic
views of style tend to be based on one of three fundamentally different
notions. First, style can be seen as a departure from a set of patterns
labelled as a norm (Ibid.) According to this notion, stylistic analysis
involves comparisons between features in the text whose style is analyzed
and features in the body of the text defined as a norm and therefore serve
as a relevant background. Secondly, style has been viewed as an addition
of certain stylistic features to a neutral, 'styleless' or 'prestylistic'
expression (style as ornamentation). Accordingly, stylistic analysis
becomes a process of isolating and describing those added stylistic traits
that stand out from the stylistically neutral or unmarked features. Thirdly,
style has been viewed as connotation, in which case each linguistic
feature acquires its stylistic significance from the textual and situational
environment. Stylistic analysis, therefore, becomes a study of the
relations between specific linguistic units and their environment
(Ibid.,15).
Commenting on the papers submitted to the Symposium that took
place in 1969 at the Villa Serbelloni and later published in a book under
the title A Literary Style: A symposium,' Chatman, the editor, (1971, xi)
remarks,
Style is an ambiguous term. Among other things, it has been
used to refer to the idiosyncratic manner of an individual or
group; or to a small-scale property of texts; or to a kind of

extra or heightened expressiveness; or to a decorum based on


social or cultural context; or to any one of a number of other
concepts.

Ullmann (1971,133) mentions that people have different views of


style. Some describe it as a matter of "highly personal mode of vision."
Others regard it as "conscious or unconscious choices" or "deviation from
a contextually related norm." The most neutral of all definitions, for
Ullmann, is the one "which equates style with expressiveness as distinct
from cognitive meaning."
There are definitions which view style in statistical terms .For
instance, Bernard Bloch (cited in Saporta 1960, 87) proposes that The
style of a discourse is the message carried by the frequency-distributions
and transitional probabilities of its linguistic features, especially as they
differ from those of the same features in the language as a whole. Thus,
the analysis of style essentially involves "the identification and
calibration of the various dimensions along which messages may differ."
Along the same dimension, Envikst (1964:28) defines the style of a text
as "the aggregate of the contextual probabilities of its linguistic items." He
adds that 'aggregate' implies that style is the result of more than one linguistic
item and that style is built on observations made at various linguistic levels
(Ibid.).
Crystal and Davy (1969, 9) remark that the word style has a
multiplicity of definitions of which they distinguish, in their terms, "four
commonly occurring senses." The first sense of style refers to some or all of
the language habits of one person, as when talking about Shakespeares style,
or the style of James Joyce, or when discussing questions of disputed

authorship. The features investigated are only those which are particularly
unusual or original in a persons expression. In the second sense, style is
some or all of the language habits shared by a group of people at one time, or
over a period of time, as when referring to the style of the Augustan poets,
the style of Old English heroic poetry, or styles of public-speaking
(Ibid.,10).Third, style can be used in an evaluative sense, judging the
effectiveness of a mode of expression . A clear or refined style are phrases
used to make value judgments on the overall effect of the language on
people. In contrast to the two senses mentioned above, this sense is in no
way descriptive and objective (Ibid.).Finally, there is the sense of style
primarily associated with literary language as a characteristic of good,
effective or beautiful writing. This sense is partially evaluative, partially
descriptive and the focus of the literary critics attention alone (Ibid.).
De Beogrande and Dressler (1981, 16) argue "Despite the diversity of
approaches, there is a consensus that style results from the characteristic
selection of options for producing a text or a set of texts." In other words, it
refers to the choices a speaker or writer makes from among the phonological,
grammatical and lexical resources of his language (Hartmann and Stork
1972).
Leech and short (1981) distinguish three views of style: 'dualism' which
assumes a separation between form and meaning and is manifested in
definitions of style as 'dress of thought' and 'manner of expression'; 'monism'
which assumes the inseparability of style and content; and finally 'pluralism'
which sees language as performing a number of different functions, and any
piece of language is likely to be the result of choices made on different
functional levels.

Verdonk (2002, 3) defines style as "distinctive linguistic expression."


More specifically, style, for him, is a matter of a motivated choice, among
other possibilities.
Wales (2001,371) recognizes the difficulty of defining style, which she
ascribes to its various uses in several broad areas. She, however, lists some
definitions: style as "the perceived distinctive manner of expression in
writing or speaking"; style as "variation in language use, according to
situation, medium and degree of formality"; and "the set or sum of linguistic
features that seem to be characteristic: whether of register, genre or period."
She also mentions the definitions of style in terms of 'choice and deviation'
(Ibid., 372).
1.2 Style, Genre and Function
Todorove (1971,40) defines genre as "a norm consisting of a set of rules
located at different levels." For example, the genre of journalism has its own
rules, a selection or sub-code taken from the language as a whole one must
be concise, mention the most important points first, avoid the lyric and
personal, etc.(Ibid.). Envikst (1973, 20) states that there is a very close
relationship between style and genre in that genre, regarded as "a culturally
definable stable context category or stable cluster of contextual features"
usually correlates to some extent with a certain style, that is, with a certain
type of language." However, as Verdonk (2002, 11) argues, there is not
always a one-to-one correspondence between text type and style. This means
that styles sometimes overlap as it is the case in advertisements.
Envikst (1973,21) also proposes a close connection between genre and
function of language. Consequently, according to him, genre styles such as
the styles of poetry, scientific communication, journalism, and colloquial
conversation become functional styles. As for the function of literary texts,

especially poems, Verdonk (2002,12) remarks "Whatever the function of


poetry may be, it bears no relation to our socially established needs and
conventions," because, he says, unlike non-literary texts, poetry has no
relevance to the ordinary contexts of social life. To put it differently, poetry
does not refer to our world directly but provides a representation of it by
means of its peculiar and unconventional uses of language which motivate
readers to create an imaginary alternative world. For Verdonk, the essential
function of literature may lie in its potential to enable us "to satisfy our needs
as individuals, to escape from our monotonous socialized existence, to feel
reassured about the disorder and confusion in our minds, and to find a
reflection of our conflicting emotions." In this way, the function of literature
is not socializing but individualizing (Ibid.).
1.3 Style, Text and Context
Spencer and Gregory (1964,100) regard text as

An utterance which is part of a complex social process, and


therefore the personal, social, linguistic , literary , and
ideological circumstances in which it was written need to be
called upon from time to time when serious examination of a
literary text is being made. Recourse to factors such as these
may be termed cultural contextualization.

Some of the linguistic factors of this contextualizing process relate to


placing the language of the text in terms of its diachronic (period), diatopic
(dialect), and diatypic (field, mode and tenor) status, and the necessity for a
linguist to have an historical dimension even if the study is concerned solely
with modern texts because the creative writer lives in a literary and linguistic
tradition and is often significantly conscious of it (Ibid., 101).

According to Verdonk (2002,17), text is "a stretch of language complete


in itself and of some considerable extent, e.g., 'a business letter', 'a leaflet', 'a
news report', 'a recipe', and so on." It is according to their use in particular
contexts, and not their length that texts are recognized as such. Thus, even
single words or single sentences are texts in terms of their communicative
meaning. Typical examples of such small-scale texts are public notices like
keep off the grass' ,'Keep left', Danger, Ramp Ahead, Slow, and Exit.
The meaning of a text depends on its being actively employed in a context of
use. This process of activation of a text by linking it to a context of use is
called discourse. To put it differently, "this contextualization of a text is
actually the readers (or hearers) reconstruction of the writers (or speakers)
intended message, that is, his or her communicative act or discourse"
(Ibid.,18).
Spencer and Gregory (1964) argue that when examining style, the analyst
should not only focus on linguistic features in isolation, but also consider
their relation to other aspects of the text and its contextual setting .Otherwise
his final statements will be merely linguistic.
Envikst (1973,51) regards contexts as 'determinants of styles'. He remarks
that styles have been defined as "those variants of language that correlate
with contexts." And for relating variations of language and contexts, he
suggests that this can be done in two ways. One can choose either to define
sets of linguistic forms in terms of the contexts in which they occur ,or to
define contexts according to the linguistic forms that occur in them(Ibid.,53).
Thus, one may study the language of an individual, of a genre such as
scientific communication, of a period such as the eighteenth century, and so
on, and compare this language with that of a relevant norm to pinpoint its
own distinctive characteristics; or one might, for instance, go through a
corpus of contemporary English texts looking for the forms 'thou lovest' and

'he loveth', and define all the passages dominated by these forms as archaic
(Ibid.).
Verdonk (2002,7) maintains that "Conscious or unconscious choices of
expression which create a particular style are always motivated, inspired, or
induced by contextual circumstances in which both writers and readers (or
speakers and listeners ) are in various ways involved."
Deriving a discourse from a text involves two different areas of meaning:
the texts intrinsic linguistic or formal properties (its sounds, typography,
vocabulary, grammar and so on) and the extrinsic contextual factors which
are believed to affect its linguistic meaning. These two interacting areas of
meaning are the subject matter of two disciplines: semantics which is the
study of formal meanings as they are represented in the language of texts,
that is, independent of writers (speaker) and readers (hearers), and pragmatics
which is concerned with meaning of language in discourse, that is, when it is
used in an appropriate context to achieve particular aims (Ibid.,19).
In principle, the process of discourse inferencing is the same for nonliterary and literary texts, for in either case there should be an interaction
between the semantic meanings of the linguistic items of the text and their
pragmatic meanings in a context of use. But the nature of literary discourse
completely differs from that of non-literary discourse in that it is detached
from the immediacy of social contact (Ibid., 21). Generally speaking,
whereas the non-literary text is related to the context of our everyday social
practice, the literary is not: it is 'self enclosed' (Ibid.).
Literary discourses have meanings which are indefinite, undetermined,
unstable, and indeed often unsettling. This gives rise to multiple meanings
whenever a discourse is inferred from the same literary text. Such meanings

cannot be pinned down and may therefore open up a refreshing perspective in


addition to our socialized certainties (Ibid.,22).
However, literary texts literary texts still bear some relation to the real
world; otherwise, we would not be able to derive some meaningful discourse
from them (Ibid.).
1.4 Style in Some Linguistic Theories
Envikst (1971,50-52) surveys the place of style in some linguistic
theories, namely the traditional, structural, transformational and functional
grammar. He mentions that traditional grammar incorporated stylistic
considerations. Many rules of old normative school grammars, he remarks,
were stylistic in nature. Such grammars recommended a selection of usage
that was suitable for a definite set of situations and contexts. They were
"handbooks of approved linguistic manners, and thus of style" (Ibid.).
In behavourist structuralism, the study of style was mainly a marginal,
rather than a central, pursuit. The word 'style' itself was absent from
Bloomfields language. However, many American structuralists spoke and
wrote about style. Zellig Harris, for example, found the key to style in
distribution (Ibid., 51). Moreover, as Fowler (1981) (cited in Stockwell
2006,4) points out , Bloomfieldian structural linguistics offered "a precise
terminology and framework for detailed analyses of metrical structure in
poetry."
As for European structuralism, Saussure was more interested in everyday
speech than in written language including literature which he regarded as
comparatively unimportant in the study of language as a whole. His pupil,
Charles Bally, the founder of stylistics, again gave little attention (Chapman
1973,4).However, some stylisticians made use of Saussure's dichotomy of
langue and a parole, attributing style to parole rather than langue ( Leech and

Short1981). In addition, a version of European structuralism, formalism,


showed a big concern with applying linguistics to the study of language in
literature .This was clearly stated in a statement by one of its leading figures,
Jakobson (1960,377):

The linguist whose field is any kind of language may and must
include poetry in his study . A linguist deaf to the poetic function
of language and a literary scholar indifferent to linguistic problems
and unconversant with linguistic methods are equally flagrant
anachronism.

Among the functions of language, Jakobson recognizes the poetic


function which focuses on the message for its own sake. He asserts "Poetic
function is not the sole function of verbal art but only its dominant,
determining function, whereas in all other verbal activities it acts as a
subsidiary, accessory constituent" (Ibid.,356).
In transformational linguistics, the basic theory had no explicit treatment
of style. But this does not mean that transformational grammar is of no use to
stylistics. Transformation grammar is a model which may give an account of
the sequence of choices at one's disposal when he wishes to say something. If
style is choice, then transformation grammar is, Envikst (1971, 51) claims,
"the grammatical model that so far most fully maps out the system and range
of this choice." By accounting for features that do not actually appear on the
surface of a text, transformation grammar should be capable of analyzing a
figure such as ellipsis, for example, with increased rigour. And through the
semantic matrices of recent transformation grammar the definition and study
of metaphor, a vexing subject for many linguists, is given a push forward
(Ibid.). Moreover, a writers typical application of particular kinds of

transformation (particularly optional transformations) may be said to


constitute his syntactic style (Ibid.).
In British linguistics, there was a big concern with granting style a
place in the linguistic theory, as it might be expected of a school with J.R.
Firth as its stimulus. Terms such as 'register' and 'field', 'mode' and 'tenor' of
discourse gave increasing precision to British discussion. Some British works
notably Hallidays papers on transitivity and theme contain a number of
concrete points very useful to the analyst of styles (Ibid.,52). Hallidayan
functionalism added a socio-cultural dimension that began to explain stylistic
choices in literary texts (Stockwell 2006,4).
1.5 Some Linguistic Approaches to Style
Though linguistic theories did not have the study of style on their agenda,
a large number of stylistic studies have used models derived from, or at least
inspired by those theories. Indeed as Freeman (1970,4) remarks, work in
Linguistics and the increased interest in linguistic approaches to literary
studies in the second half of the twentieth century led to the emergence of
modern linguistic theory as a contributory discipline to literary criticism.
Freeman (Ibid.) divides work in linguistic stylistics in the 1960s into
three types: style as deviation from the norm, style as recurrence or
convergence of textual pattern, and style as a particular exploitation of
grammar of possibilities.
In its rejection of 'impressionism' and its adherence to an objectivity and
quantification, the 'style as deviation' school occasionally let methodology
overwhelm its subject. Such a misconception of the nature of literary study
exists in some works in stylistics especially those strongly influenced by a
behaviourist philosophy of science. To refer to a given literary effect as a
'stimulus' with the philosophical commitments inherent in such a term, is to

do violence to the very nature of literature (Ibid.,5). Another difficulty in the


work of 'style as deviation' is its definition of the norm from which an
authors style is supposed to differ in certain ways (Ibid.).For example Carter
(1997, 125) raises these questions:

What is the norm? Do we not mean norms? Is the norm the standard
language, the internally constituted norms created within a single text,
the norms of a particular genre, a particular writers style, the norms
created by a school of writers within a period? And so on. If it is the
norms of the standard language, then what level of language is
involved? Grammar, phonology, discourse, semantics?

Style as "a particular exploitation of a grammar of possibilities"


incorporates a notion of a grammar that goes beyond the literary text which
implies that certain typical characteristics (that is, selections from these
possibilities) are indicative of, what Richard Ohmann has called, a writers
'cognitive orientation' (Freeman 1970,13-14).This approach is based on the
transformational-generative grammatical theory. According to this theory of
grammar, language can be characterized at two levels of representation: deep
(meaning) and surface (sound) syntactic structure. The two levels are
interrelated by an ordered set of transformations.
The notion of style as a recurrence of convergence of textual pattern has
stemmed in large part from Roman Jakobsons famous dictum: the poetic
function projects the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into
the axis of combination.(Ibid.,10). Poetic language, Jakobson argues, "seeks
in its chain or combinatory relationships-its syntactic elements-the same
properties of close coherence that are to be found among the individual
members of a choice relationship, or paradigm"(Ibid.). Examples of such
view of style can be found in the work of M. A. K. Halliday and Geoffrey

Leech on cohesion, which Halliday has characterized as a grouping of


descriptive categories organized around the lexical and grammatical means of
unifying a literary text (Ibid.,11). Cohesion which is realized at different
ranks of linguistic structure, is a syntagmatic or chain relationship. It can be
grammatical (such items as anaphoric determiners, pronouns, demonstratives,
and certain adverbs[such,so])or lexical (repetition of lexical items or
sequential occurrence of items from the same lexical set)(Ibid.).
2. Stylistics
2.1 Definitions and Scope
Leech (1969, 1) writes, "I mean by 'stylistics' simply the study of literary
style, or, to make matters even more explicit, the study of the use of language
in literature." Short (1996,1) defines stylistics as "an approach to the analysis
of (literary) texts using linguistic description." Verdonk (2002, 3) defines
stylistics as "the analysis of distinctive expression in language and the
description of its purpose and effect." He remarks that the way such analysis
and description should be conducted, and the way their relationship is to be
established are matters of dispute among stylisticians (Ibid.). Another
definition of stylistics is that offered by Simpson (2004, 2) as "a method of
textual interpretation in which primacy of place is assigned to language." As
for the importance of language to stylisticians, Simpson suggests that "the
various forms, patterns and levels that constitute linguistic structure are "an
important index of the function of the text."(Ibid.). The texts functional
significance as discourse acts in turn as a gateway to its interpretation. While
linguistic features do not of themselves constitute a texts meaning, an
account of linguistic features nonetheless serves to ground a stylistic
interpretation and to help explain why, for the analyst, certain types of
meaning are possible (Ibid.).

Although stylistic analysis was at first a way of applying linguistic


models to literary texts, such models can now be applied to the analysis of
any type of text: to non-literary registers as well as the literary. Consequently,
the concern of stylistics has extended from an initial preoccupation with
'literary' texts to include any kind, written or spoken (McRae and Clark
2004,327).
2.2 The Purpose of Stylistics
Leech & Short (1981,11) state that stylistics, simply defined as the
(linguistic) study of style, is rarely undertaken for its own sake, simply as an
exercise in describing what use is made of language but rather to explain
something, and in general, literary stylistics has, implicitly or explicitly, the
goal of explaining the relation between language and artistic function. They
elaborate by saying

Motivating questions are not so much what as why and how. From
the linguists angle, it is Why does the author here choose this form
of expression? From the literary critics viewpoint, it is How is
such-and-such an aesthetic effect achieved through language?(Ibid.).
Thus, for them , the aim of literary stylistics is to relate the critics concern of
aesthetic appreciation with the linguists concern of linguistic description
using term appreciation to comprehend both critical evaluation and
interpretation , although, they comment it is with interpretation that stylistics
is more directly concerned (Ibid.,11-12).
Hasan (1971,299) argues that the usefulness of the study of literary
language for stylistic purposes does not rest on how many 'facts' about the
language are accumulated; it rests on how many of these facts are shown to

be significant to the text as an instance of literature. Similarly, Wales (2001,


331) argues the goal of most stylistics "is not simply to describe the formal
features of texts for their own sake, but in order to show their functional
significance for the interpretation of text; or in order to relate literary effects
to linguistic causes where these are felt to be relevant."
For Simpson (2004,3) "Doing stylistics enriches our ways of thinking
about language" because it investigates language, and, more specifically,
investigates creativity in language use. By the use of language models the
method of analytic inquiry acquires an important reflexive capacity in that
it can shed light on the very language system it derives from; it tells us
about the rules of language because it often explores texts where those
rules are bent, distended or stretched to breaking point. In contemporary
stylistic analysis, a prerequisite to doing stylistics is interest in language
(Ibid.). According to Bradford (1997,xi) stylistics "enables us to identify
and name the distinguishing features of literary texts, and to specify the
generic and structural subdivisions of literature.
Toolan (1990, 426) (cited in Stockwell 2006,748) points out stylistics
can be used for a variety of purposes, including the teaching of language and
of literature. It can also be used as a means of demystifying literary
responses, understanding how varied readings are produced from the same
text; and it can be used to assist in seeing features that might not otherwise
have been noticed. It can shed light on the crafted texture of the literary text,
as well as offering a productive form of assistance in completing
interpretations, making them more complex and richer. Stylistics can thus be
used both "as a descriptive tool and as a catalyst for interpretation"(Ibid.).

2.3 The Principles of Stylistics


It is hard to specify a set of procedures, methodologies and theories for
stylistics because of the many strands and subfields which have developed
out of it. However, it is possible to list some principles by which most, if not
all, of stylistics operates.
2.3.1 Stylistics as Text-based
Jeffries and McIntyre (2010,21) stress that stylistics derives its existence
from texts being analyzed, and although some recent developments in
cognitive stylistics posit processes that a reader engages in while she is
reading a text, the task of stylistician remains that of working out what effect
is achieved by particular texts whether the research aims are phrased as a
cognitive, a linguistic or a literary question. Cognitive, corpus or discourse
stylistics of the early twenty-first century, though vary considerably, they
remain text-based in their attempt to explain something about the operation
and effect of particular texts (Ibid., 22).
2.3.2 Objectivity and Empiricism
Jeffries and McIntyre (Ibid.,23) argue that objectivity in stylistic analysis
does not mean making 'impassive' comments on the meaning of a text without
regard to context or ideology. In this regard, Wales (2001, 373) says that
stylistics is "only objective in the sense of being methodical, systematic,
empirical, analytical, coherent, accessible, retrievable and consensual."
Jeffries and McIntyre (2010, 23) maintain "The requirement of an empirical
approach to study is that all claims should be based on observation or
experience." In other words, the strictly empirical approach would insist
upon an inductive method of working whereby the patterns observed in large
quantities of data would be the only available outcomes of the study and no
generalizations and predictions beyond these outcomes would be permissible.

In practice, some branches of stylistics are more inductive (e.g., corpus


stylistics) and some more deductive (e.g., critical stylistics) in method
(Ibid.).Within these subfields, many studies will in fact use both approaches
to answering research questions. Thus, many stylistic approaches may
analyze a set of texts or extracts from texts, and describe what is found
empirically whilst also making predictions from this basis about the likely
occurrence of similar features and effects in other data (Ibid.,24).
2.3.3 Stylistics as Eclectic and Open
Generally speaking, stylistics is not a discipline to be constrained to one
practical or theoretical viewpoint or methodology. In fact, the main strength
of the discipline has been to remain open to new theories of language and
literature, and to evolve by incorporating the new insights into its practice
(Ibid.).
2.3.4 Choice, Analysis and Interpretation
This set is more specific to linguistics than those mentioned above.
Choice implies that there are many different ways of saying something. This
element of choice over how to say something was the proper subject of study
for stylistics (Ibid.,26). However, that choice is constrained by non-linguistic
factors. The other principle concerns the relationship between analysis and
interpretation. The choice of what data to study, which tools of analysis to use
and what research questions to answer, is often dictated by the overall desire
to explain something about interpretation. However, any attempt at
interpretation should take context into account if the research is to be
satisfactorily completed.

2.4 Stylistic Approaches: Textual and Contextual


From its earlier formalist and structuralist beginnings, stylistics has
broadened to include three distinct but interrelated strands, any of which can
independently form the primary focus of study, or lend themselves to viable
combination with either or both of their alternatives. These strands are:
1. that which is concerned with the recognizably formal and linguistic
properties of a text existing as an isolated item in the world;
2. that which refers to the points of contact between a text, other texts, and
their readers/listeners;
3. that which positions the text and the consideration of its formal and
psychological elements within a sociocultural context (Mcrae and Clark
2004,332).
Bradford (1997,12) divides these three strands into two basic categories:
texualist and contextualist. The Formalists and New Critics1 are mainly
textualists in that they regard the stylistic features of a particular literary text
as productive of an empirical unity and completeness. They do not perceive
literary style as entirely exclusive to literaturerhythm is an element of all
spoken language, and narrative features in ordinary conversationbut when
these stylistic features are combined so as to dominate the fabric of a text,
that text is regarded as literature. Contextualism involves a far more loose and
disparate collection of methods. Its unifying characteristic is its concentration
on the relation between text and context. Some structuralists argue that the
stylistic features of poetry draw upon the same structural frameworks that
enable us to distinguish between modes of dress or such social rituals as
eating. Some feminists regard literary style as a means of securing attitudes
and hierarchies that, in the broader context, maintain the difference between
male and female roles (Ibid.,13).

Textualists record the ways in which literature borrows features from


nonliterary language but maintain that these borrowings are transformed by
the literary stylistics of the text. Contextualist stylistics is 'a broad church',
and its various factions are united in their emphasis on the ways in which
literary style is formed and influenced by its contexts. These involve (1) the
competence and disposition of the reader; (2) the prevailing sociocultural
forces that dominate all linguistic discourses, including literature; and (3) the
systems of signification through which we process and interpret all
phenomena, linguistic and non-linguistic, literary and non-literary (Ibid.,72).
Modern stylistics is caught between two disciplinary imperatives. On the
one hand, it raises questions regarding the relation between the way that
language is used and its apparent context and objectivelanguage as an
active element of the real world. On the other, it seeks to define the particular
use of linguistic structures to create facsimiles, models or distortions of the
real worldliterary language (Ibid.,xii).
2.5 Linguistic and Literary Stylistics
Carter and Simpson (1989,4) state that linguistic stylistics is "the study of
style and language for the sake of a refinement of models for the analysis of
language and thus to contribute to the development of linguistic theory." On
the other hand, what distinguishes work in literary stylistics, they remark, is
"the provision of a basis for fuller understanding, appreciation and
interpretation of avowedly literary and author-centred texts."(Ibid.). The
general tendency will be to use linguistic insights in the service of fuller
interpretation of language effects than is possible without the benefit of
linguistics. In general, analysis will involve multiple levels, unlike the kind of
single-level rigours characterizing much work in linguistic stylistics. Indeed,

it is argued that "style itself results from a simultaneous convergence of


effects at a number of levels of language organization" (Ibid.,6).
Todorove (1971,43) does not accept the distinction. He believes that they
are two complementary aspects of one and the same distinction, and that it is
not necessary to oppose a stylistics of language and one of literature.
According to him, there exists only a theoretical stylistics, which is "an
extension of linguistics and whose categories one can apply to particular texts
in literature, journalism , science or whatever."
2.6 Stylistics, Linguistics and Literary Criticism
The relationship between these three disciplines can be set in different
ways. For instance, stylistics may be regarded as a subdepartment of
linguistics, and given a special subsection dealing with the peculiarities of
literary texts. It may be made a subdepartment of literary study which may on
occasion draw on linguistic methods. Or it may be regarded as an
autonomous discipline which draws freely, and eclectically, on methods both
from linguistics and from literary study (Envikst 1973 ,23) .
Verdonk (2002,55) differentiates between stylistics and literary criticism
by saying whereas "literary criticism directs attention to the large-scale
significance of what is represented in the verbal art, stylistics focuses on how
this significance can be related to specific features of language, to the
linguistic texture of the literary text." He observes that literary critics would
be concerned with locating the effect created by language in the structure of
the whole literary work, with the interplay of character, the relationship
between plot and theme, and so on. Stylistic analysis can provide supporting
evidence for interpretation by indicating how the macro features that the
literary critic is concerned with might be reflected in the micro features of
linguistic texture (Ibid., 56).

On the differences between the stylistic analysis of literature and the


traditional practical criticism, Short (1996, 6) suggests that the difference is,
in part of degree rather than kind. Practical critics, he says, use evidence from
the text, and therefore the language of the text, to support what they say. But
the evidence tends to be much more selective than that which a stylistician
would want to bring to bear. In that sense, stylistics is the logical extension of
practical criticism in that stylisticians try to make their descriptions and
analyses as detailed, as systematic and as thorough as possible. He also
mentions a difference of kind which is the major critics interest in new
interpretations and views on literary works and the interest of the stylistic
analysis in established interpretations and new ones alike. Thus, sylisticians
try to discover not just what the text means, but also how it comes to mean
what it does. And in order to investigate the how it is usually best to start with
established, agreed interpretations for a text (Ibid.)
Saporta (1960,83) indicates that the difference is in terminology used. He
says terms like 'value', 'aesthetic purpose' etc., apparently constitute an
essential part of the methods of most literary criticism. Such terms are not
available to linguists whose statements include inferences to phonemes,
stresses, morphemes, syntactical patterns, etc., and their patterned repetition
and co-occurrence. Of particular importance is the extent to which an analysis
of messages based on such features will correlate with that made in terms of
value and purpose (Ibid.). The fact that language can be 'manipulated' to serve
an aesthetic purpose depends on the communicative function of language
which is part of its definition (Ibid.).
As for the difference between linguistics and stylistics, Saporta (1960, 86)
observes that there seems to be an essential difference in the aims and
consequently the results. The result of a linguistic analysis is "grammar which
generates unobserved (as well as observed) sentences." The aim of stylistic

analysis would seem to be a typology which would indicate the features


common to a particular class of messages as well as the features which may
further separate these messages into subclasses.
Widdowson (1975,4 ) sees stylistics as an area of mediation between the
two disciplines: linguistics and literary criticism. By the same token, stylistics
can provide a way of mediating between two subjects: language and
literature.

Disciplines:

Subjects :

linguistics
.
.
.
.
.
.
(English)language

Stylistics

literary criticism
.
.
.
.
.
.
(English)literature

Diagram 2.1 Stylistics in Relation to Linguistics & Literary Criticism (Adopted


from Widdowson 1975,4)

For Widdowson, as the diagram shows, stylistics is neither a discipline


nor a subject but a means of relating disciplines and subjects (Ibid.).The
literary critic,Widdowson argues, "is primarily concerned with messages
and his interest in codes lies in the meanings they convey in particular
instances of use. His aim is interpretation." The linguist, on the other
hand, is primarily concerned with the codes themselves and particular
messages are of interest in so far as they exemplify how the codes are
constructed." His aim is the textual form although he may use
interpretation as an end to his analysis. In other words, the linguist treats
literature as text while the literary critic treats it as messages (Ibid.,5).

Between these two is an approach to literature which attempts to show


how elements of linguistic text combine to create messages, how, in other
words, pieces of literary writing function as a form of communication.
This approach is stylistics and it treats literature as discourse (Ibid.,6). An
interpretation of a literary work as a piece of discourse "involves
correlating the meaning of a linguistic item as an element in the language
code with the meaning it takes on in the context in which it occurs." He
illustrates his argument by examples of analyses which look, though in
opposing ways, at literature as textual data which can or cannot be
approached

by

standard

linguistic

description

(Ibid.,33).

What

Widdowson proposes is a stylistic approach to literature in that it attempts


to characterize literary writing as discourse and so to mediate between the
linguists treatment of literature primarily as text and the critics treatment
of it primarily as messages.
Wellek (1960,411) asserts "Literary criticism is a discipline that
studies the structures and values of literature and uses gratefully the help
of linguistics and psychology." Linguistic analysis is not the only way to
approach literary style which also needs analysis in terms of the aesthetic
effects toward which it is aiming. Style may include "all devices of
speech that convey the attitude of the speaker (all expressive language)
and all devices that aim to achieve rhetorical ends, all devices for
securing emphasis or explicitness, metaphors, rhetorical figures,
syntactical patterns"(Ibid.,417). A literary stylistics will concentrate on
the aesthetic purpose of every linguistic device, the way it serves a
totality, and will beware of the atomism and isolation which is the pitfall
of much stylistic analysis (Ibid.,418).

2.7 Statistics in Stylistics


Enkvist (1973, 27) argues that the impression we have of the style of
a text is caused by "significant difference in the densities of linguistics
features in this text, and in a norm consisting of another, contextually
related text, or body of texts." He classifies the attempts to apply statistics
to the study of style into two categories: those which tried to find those
statistical patterns that are common to large samples of text, and perhaps
even to all texts in all languages; and those which concentrated on
extracting that made one text different from other texts. The first category
was concerned with statistical universal while the second with statistical
differential.
Halliday (1971, 343) states that

in the context of stylistic

investigations, the term 'statistical' "may refer to anything from a highly


detailed measurement of the reactions of subjects to sets of linguistic
variables, to the parenthetical insertion of figures of occurrences designed
to explain why a particular feature is being singled out for
discussion."What is common to all of these is the assumption that
numerical data on language may be stylistically significant; there has
nearly always been some counting of linguistic elements in the text,
whether of phonological units or words or grammatical patterns, and the
figures obtained are potentially an indication of prominence. Halliday
(Ibid.) comments that the notion that prominence may be defined
statistically is still not always accepted. He observes that there seem to be
two main counterarguments. The first is essentially that, since style is a
manifestation of the individual, it cannot be reduced to counting .This is
true, he says, but it misses the point. If there is such a thing as a
recognizable style, whether of work, an author, or an entire period or
literary tradition, its distinctive quality can in the last analysis be stated in

terms of relative frequencies (Ibid.,343). The second objection is that


numbers of occurrences must be irrelevant to style because we are not
aware of frequency in language and therefore cannot respond to it.
Halliday argues that this is almost certainly not true. He claims "We are
probably rather sensitive to the relative frequency of different
grammatical and lexical patterns, which is an aspect of 'meaning
potential'; and our expectancies, as readers, are in part based on our
awareness of the probabilities inherent in the language." This is what
enables us to grasp the new probabilities of the text as a local norm. In
addition, he remarks "Our ability to perceive a statistical departure and
restructure it as a norm is itself evidence of the essentially probabilistic
nature of the language system"(Ibid.).The concern here is not with
psychological problems of the response to literature but with the
linguistic options selected by the writer and their relation to the total
meaning of the work. If in the selections he has made, Halliday
maintains, there is an unexpected pattern of frequency distributions, and
this turns out to be motivated, it seems pointless to argue that such a
phenomenon could not be possibly significant (Ibid.,344).
3. The Language of Poetry
One way of defining poetry is to say that "it uses language to
condense experience into an intensely concentrated package, with each
sound, each word, each image, and each line carrying great weight"
(Kirszner and Mandell 2001, 668).
Widdowson (1992, 9) states that poetry is the expression of "all
manner of imaginative insight, of subtle thought and profound feeling,
but it has no subject matter of its own." What is remarkable about poetry
is the way it makes significant the insignificant, trivial and commonplace.

The content of the poems is generally speaking, unimpressive.


Propositions like 'time passes', 'being in love is a wonderful feeling',
'nature is beautiful' and 'life is lonely' are very common in poetry. By
themselves they are of little significance. The essentials of poetry lie in
the way language is used to elaborate on such simple propositions so that
they are reformulated in unfamiliar terms which somehow capture the
underlying mystery of the commonplace (Ibid.).
Terms like ' literary language ' and 'poetic language ' are loosely used
to refer to the use of language in literature in general and poetry in
particular. In this regard, Simpson (1997,7) rules out the existence of a
'literary language', i.e., there are no items of modern English vocabulary
or grammar that are inherently and exclusively literary. He argues,

Literary discourse rather than manifesting a uniform language


variety derives its effectiveness from its exploitation of the
entire linguistic repertoire. Literary communication thrives not
on the presence of a clearly defined linguistic code but on the
very absence of such a code.
(Ibid.,8)
He explains that poets' devices such as parallelism, wordplay, punning
and rhyming cited as peculiar to literature can be found outside literature.
Advertising discourse, for example, depends for much of its impact on
memorable or startling figures of speech -the sort of figures of speech that
are often thought the exclusive domain of poetry (Ibid.,9).
A useful tool with which to make comparisons between literary texts
and other genres of language is the concept of register. This is a valuable
term which links variation in language to variation in situation. A register
is defined according to the use to which language is being put. In other

words, a register shows what a speaker or writer is doing with language at


a given moment. In more formal terms, a register is "a fixed pattern of
vocabulary and grammar which regularly co-occurs with and is
conventionally associated with a specific context" (Ibid.,10). Registers
are often easily recognized. Although it is an axiom in language study
that certain communicative contexts regularly predict certain registers, a
notable exception is literary communication. Literature is simply not a
register of language; this is an enabling feature of literary discourse
because it shakes itself free of the strictures imposed by register. Literary
discourse moreover, has the capacity to assimilate and absorb registers
producing complex and multilayered patterns of communication
(Ibid.,13). This feature of assimilating other registers and varieties is
called re-registration (Carter1997,129).
The notion of re-registration means "that no single word or stylistic
feature or register will be barred from admission to a literary
context"(Ibid.). Registers such as legal language or the language of
instructions are recognized by the neat fit between language form and
specific function; but any language at all can be deployed to literary
effect by the process of re-registration. For example, Auden makes use of
bureaucratic registers in his poem The Unknown Citizen; wide use of
journalistic and historical discourse styles is made in such novels as
Salman Rushdies Midnights Children (1981) and Shame (1983) and in
numerous novels by Norman Mailer. Re-registration recognizes that the
full, unrestricted resources of the language are open to exploitation for
literary ends (Ibid.,129).
In what follows an account is given of what scholars have claimed to
be linguistic peculiarities of the language used in poetry. Mukarovsky
(1970,41) sheds some light on the distinctiveness of poetic language by

comparing it to the standard language. First, concerning the relationship


between the two, he doesnt consider poetic language a brand of the
standard because, he argues, poetic language has at its disposal, from the
standpoint of lexicon, syntax, etc., all the forms of the given
language(Ibid.). However, he remarks that they are closely connected in
that "for poetry the standard language is the background against which is
reflected the aesthetically intentional distortion of the linguistic
components of the workthe intentional violation of the norm of the
standard." Second, as for the function of the two forms of language, he
suggests that the function of poetic language consists in the maximum of
foregrounding of the utterance. He asserts,
Foregrounding is the opposite of automatization, that is the
deautomatization of an act; the more an act is automatized, the
less it is consciously executed; the more it is foregrounded ,the
more completely conscious it becomes automatization
schematizes an event; foregrounding means the violation of the
scheme.
(Ibid.,43).

Standard language does contain examples of foregrounding as in


journalistic style or essays. However, in such contexts, it is always
subordinate to communication: its purpose is to attract the reader's
(listeners) attention more closely to the subject matter expressed by the
foregrounded means of expression (Ibid.). In poetic language,
foregrounding achieves maximum intensity to the extent of pushing
communication into the background as the objective of expression and of
being used for its own sake; it is not used in the services of
communication, but in order to place in the foreground the act of
expression, the act of speech itself (Ibid.).

Halliday (1971,339) defines foregrounding as "prominence that is


motivated." Patterns of prominence figure out in texts through regularities
in the sounds or words or structures that stand out in some way.
Motivation is ascribed to prominence if the latter contributes to the
writers total meaning. It does so by virtue and through the medium of its
own value in the language-through the linguistic function from which its
meaning is derived. Where the function is relevant to our interpretation of
the work, the prominence will appear as motivated. Halliday mentions
two types of prominence: negative, that is, a departure from a norm and
positive which is the attainment or the establishment of a norm
(Ibid.,340). As for departure from a norm he says it covers both
deviations as well as 'deflections' by which he means departures from
some expected pattern of frequency.
For Simpson (2004, 50), foregrounding refers to "a form of textual
patterning which is motivated specifically for literary-aesthetic purposes."
It can appear at any level of language and it involves a stylistic distortion
of some sort, either through an aspect of the text which deviates from a
linguistic norm or, alternatively, where an aspect of the text is brought to
the fore through repetition or parallelism. That means that foregrounding
comes in two main guises: foregrounding as 'deviation from a norm' and
foregrounding as 'more of the same '.
Leech

(1969,73)

indicates,

"Obtrusive

irregularity

(poetic

deviation) and obtrusive regularity (parallelism) account for most of what


is characteristic of poetic language." Short (1996,68) points out that
deviation and parallelism are based on linguistic choice. In deviation, the
authors choose a structure which violate some norm-system, which very
often, is the system of rules provided by their language. In parallelism,
they do not deviate from the linguistic norm-system, instead they use the

same structure more than once in a short space. In both cases, the choices
made produce the effect of foregrounding.
Third, Mukarovsky (1970, 47) suggests aesthetic values as another
way in which poetic and standard languages differ. In the arts, aesthetic
valuation necessarily stands highest in the hierarchy of the values
contained in the work, whereas outside of art, its position vacillates and is
usually subordinate.
Verdonk (2002, 11) mentions the following as characteristics of the
language of poetry:

its meaning is often ambiguous and elusive; it may flout the


conventional rules of grammar; it has a peculiar sound structure; it
is spatially arranged in metrical lines and stanzas; it often reveals
foregrounded patterns in its sounds, vocabulary grammar, or
syntax, and last but not least, it frequently contains indirect
references to other texts.

As for the distinction between the language of poetry and that of


prose, Stankiewicz (1960, 75) asserts that poetic language differs from
prose primarily through the rules of organization of the message, which
acquires autonomous value and which must be distinguished from the
individual and nonreplicable speech act. In addition he (Ibid.,77) states
that the highest form of poetic organization, verse, differs from prose in
its rhythmic pattern. Rhythm implies recurrence of certain elements
within regularly distribute-time intervals. The rules of distribution of
these elements along the syntagmatic axis, which are obligatory for a
given language or for a given period, constitute a system (or systems) of
versification. The linguistic code determines both the selection and
distribution of these signals.

4. Stylistic Analysis
Generally, in looking at style in a text, what is of interest to the
analyst is not choices in isolation, but rather a pattern of choices:
something that characterizes the text as a whole (Leech & Short 1981 ,34)
For instance, the choice between active and passive sentences, saying
Persuasion was written by Jane Austen in preference to Jane Austen
wrote Persuasion could scarcely be called a style. On the other hand, if a
text shows a pattern of unusual preference for passives over actives, this
preference is considered a feature of style. This does not mean that
stylistics is uninterested in local features of a text, but rather that local or
specific features have to be seen in relation to other features, against the
background of the pervasive tendency of preferences in the text. The
recognition of cohesion and consistency in preference is important:
without it, one would scarcely acknowledge a style. To go one stage
further, consistency and tendency are most naturally reduced to
frequency, and so, it appears, the stylistician becomes a statistician
(Ibid.).
The linguist C. H. Hockett (cited in Fowler 1966) argues that "poem
is a long idiom: an utterance with a total meaning which is not merely the
sum of the meanings of its separate components." So an account of a
poem cannot be merely an inventory of its parts but must involve also a
statement of the network of relations between the parts (Ibid.,20-21).The
linguist must make a whole analysis of the literary text, and must then
proceed to utilize his analyzed and understood fragments as elements in a
synthesis. Relations within each level must be explored. For example, the
linguist must relate his isolated grammatical statements to one another
and must be prepared to describe points of contact between levels of

form:

to

connect

lexical

with

grammatical,

grammatical

with

phonological, details (Ibid.).


Widdowson (1992, 5) suggests that "a general feature of poetry is
that it cannot be interpreted by a direct application of conventional logic."
This is because it normally represents an experience which is out of the
ordinary, and to express such experience, ordinary language and logic
need to take a different shape. Conventional patterns of thought and
expression should be disrupted and reformulated into patterns which
follow different principles of order:

1.

Day by day we all miss her .


Words would fail our loss to tell.
But in heaven we hope to meet her,
Evermore with her to dwell.
Widdowson(Ibid.)
Carter and Simpson(1989,3) warn against "too narrow a focus on
linguistic forms" which, they claim, does not reveal what is significant in
the study of literary texts: "the effects which arise when linguistic forms
implicate aspects of context or when they signal, directly or indirectly, the
many functions they can be made to perform." This in no way indicates
that grammatical or phonological forms of literary texts are not of
interest. It suggests that they involve micro-structural aspects of text.

5. Some Models of Stylistic Analysis of Poetry


The interest in the study of literary language in general and poetic
language in particular has taken different forms ranging from analyses
concerned with illustrating how language is patterned in literary texts,

through analyses showing how such language patterning contributes to


the meaning of the text, to those which are wholly dedicated to relate
interpretation to stylistic analysis and call for going beyond the text itself
to include all aspects thought to be relevant which are normally subsumed
under the heading of context. Below is a brief look at representatives of
the approaches just mentioned.
5.1Hallidays Model
In his 'Descriptive Linguistics in Literary Studies', Halliday
analyzes Yeats' Leda and the Swan to see how it exemplifies the system
of language. In his view, the description of the linguistic elements that
occur in a piece of writing, the account of how it exemplifies the system
of the language, is part of the analysis of the piece of writing as a literary
work. He describes how two parts of the system of English are
exemplified in Yeats' poem: the first being the nominal group and the
second the verbal group. He is mostly concerned with the functions the
definite article has within the nominal group. He notices a discrepancy
between the forms of the nominal groups he has identified and the
functions they appear to have in the poem. Thus, he concludes that this
part of the system, i.e., 'the nominal groups' is being used in a somewhat
an unusual way without trying to pinpoint the literary effect behind that.
In other words, while the analysis provides an accurate specification of
how linguistic elements are exemplified, it does not lead to interpretation.
It may be regarded as part of literary criticism only if the significance of
its findings are investigated and hypotheses are made as to what they
contribute to an understanding of the literary work as a discourse
(Widdowson1975,7-14).For the detailed analysis see (Freeman,1970,5771).

5.2Thorns model
In his article Stylistics and Generative Grammars Thorn (1970,
185) argues against applying the grammar of ordinary language in the
analysis of poetry. For him, this will result either in a grammar generating
a vast number of 'unwanted sentences' or a grammar containing
statements 'so complex that they become virtually meaningless'. He,
therefore, suggests an alternative approach:
Given a text containing sequences which resist inclusion in a
grammar of English it might prove more illuminating to regard
it as a sample of a different language or dialect from standard
English.The syntactical preoccupation of stylistics are to be
satisfied, not by adjusting a grammar of standard English so as
to enable it to generate all the actual sentences of the poem ,but
by finding the grammar which most adequately describes the
structure of this other language.
(Ibid.186).

He illustrates his model by considering the deviations from the norms of


the standard language which usually occur in poetry namely those found
in E.E. Cummings' poem "anyone lived in a pretty how town" For more
about the model see (Freeman 1970,182-195).
5.3Sinclairs Model
Under the title 'Taking a Poem to Pieces', Sinclair carries out a
linguistic analysis of one of Larkins poem, 'First Sight'. His hypothesis is
that the grammatical and other patterns are giving meaning in a more
complex and tightly packed way than we expect from our familiarity with
traditional methods of describing language. He focuses on the grammar
of the poem, particularly sentences, clauses and groups (phrases).He
discusses in detail the various structural types of each of these
grammatical units as they are exemplified in the poem and comments on

the meanings they contribute in the poem. This analysis, he says, "shows
how some aspects of the meaning of the poem can be described quite
independently of evaluation." For the whole analysis see Fowler
(1966,68-81).
5.4 Short's Model
In Prelude I to a Literary Linguistic Stylistics which presents an
analysis of a section of one of T.S. Eliot's poems, Short (1982,55)
describes his approach as "that of using linguistic stylistic analysis as a
means of supporting a literary or interpretive thesis." He claims that his
analysis uses linguistic information but makes purely 'literary' points as
well. This analysis begins with giving an overall interpretation of the
poem which is to be backed up by more detailed analysis. Thus, linguistic
detail is used only where it is relevant for the purposes of the literary
argument (Ibid.,56). See Carter (1982,55-62)for the detailed analysis.
5.5 Leechs Model
In his article 'Language and Interpretation', Leech (1970,120)
asserts, Linguistic description and critical interpretation are distinct and
complementary ways of 'explaining' a literary text. He argues that a
work of literature contains dimensions additional to those operating in
other types of discourse. The apparatus of linguistic description is an
insensitive tool for literary analysis unless it is adapted to handle these
extra complexities (Ibid.)
He mentions four such dimensions: cohesion, foregrounding,
cohesion of foregrounding and finally context of situation.To begin with,
cohesion is the way in which independent choices in different points of a
text correspond with or presuppose one another forming a network of
sequential relations. Cohesion is achieved either by grammatical devices,

grammatical cohesion, or by lexical devices, lexical cohesion (Ibid.).


Secondly, foregrounding or motivated deviation from linguistic or other
socially accepted norms has been claimed to be a basic principle of
aesthetic communication. It is valuable if not essential for the study of
poetic language (Ibid.,121-122).Thirdly, foregrounded features identified
in isolation should be related to one another and to the text in its entirety
and this Leech calls cohesion of foregrounding. Features related to the
above mentioned dimensions are part of the meaning of the poem: they
are the matters of linguistic choice, and can be described in terms of the
categories of language (Ibid.,123-124).
But in a broader sense, meaning is whatever is communicated to
this or that reader: it includes the factor of interpretation."If the task of a
linguistic exegesis is to describe the text, that of critical exegesis is from
one point of view, to explore and evaluate possible interpretations of the
text(Ibid.,125). The interpretation of the whole poem is built up from a
consistency in the interpretation of individual features (Ibid., 126). But
there is another aspect of a poem which requires interpretation: its
implication of context which is the fourth dimension. Normal discourse
operates within a describable communicative situation, from which an
important part of its linguistic meaning derives. In literature, it is usually
true to say that such contextual information is largely irrelevant. Instead
we have to construct a context by inference from the text itself, by asking
such questions as 'who are the 'I' and the 'you' of the poem, and in what
circumstances are they communicating? (Ibid.).
6. Lyrical Poetry
Poetry can be classified into narrative and lyric .While narrative
poems stress action lyrics stress songs (DiYanni2000,15).These two types
have many divisions: narrative poetry includes the epic, romance ballad;
lyric poetry includes the 'elegy and epigraph', 'sonnet and sestina', 'aubade

and villanelle'. Moreover, each major type adheres to different


conventions. Narrative poems, for example, tell stories and describe
actions; lyric poems combine speech and song to express feeling in
varying degrees of verbal music (Ibid.). On the contrary to narrative
poetry, in lyric poetry, story is subordinated to song, and action to
emotion. Lyrics are "Subjective poems, often brief, that express the
feeling and thoughts of a single speaker (who may or may not represent
the poet ) " (Ibid.,17).
Lyric poetry is typically characterized by brevity, melody, and
emotional intensity. The music of lyrics makes them memorable, and
their brevity contributes to the intensity of their emotional expression
(Ibid.). Forms of lyric poetry range from the epigram, a brief witty poem
that is often satirical, to the elegy, a lament for the dead. Lyric forms also
include the ode, a long stately poem in stanzas of varied length, meter,
and form ; and the aubade, a morning love song (as opposed to
a serenade, which is in the evening), or a song or poem about lovers
separating at dawn (Ibid.). The tones , moods , and voices of lyric poems
are as variable and as complexly intertwined as human feeling, thought,
and imagination allow. Generally considered the most compressed poetic
type, the lyric poem typically expresses much in little (Ibid.)