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TitleRaymond Chapman Linguistics and Literature
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Page 1


An introduction to
literary stylistics

Page 2

T o Norman Denison


Page 64

will be the deep structure— the grammatical structure o f the base from
which the surface structure is generated in which the semantic
meaning o f the sentence must be sought. Thus although John seems
to stand in the same syntagmatic position in each o f the first two
sentences quoted above, in the deep structure he is shown to be the
subject o f the first sentence and the object o f the second. A similar
result comes from analysing what is ‘really’ being said about
doctor in each of the second pair o f sentences.

Therefore what is violated by an unacceptable sentence such as
*The men is here can be seen to be surface structure; it is at this level
that the everyday judgem ents of gram m atically are made. So also
the variations in word-order that have been quoted will affect only
the surface structure: they are o f course none the less interesting
from the point o f view o f literary syntax. Deep structure is violated
by the appearance o f an item which is not generally accepted in
that particular position in relation to the other items. D eviation of
this kind is caused by the italicized words in the following:

T he branches shake down sand along a crawling air,
and drinks are miles towards the sun

(Terence Tiller, ‘Lecturing to Troops’)

D o not go gentle into that good night
(Dylan Thomas, ‘D o not go gentle’ )

V aluing himself not a little upon his elegance, being indeed a
proper man o f his person, this talkative now applied himself to his

(James Joyce, Ulysses)

A ll these choices go beyond questions o f the startling (like the
‘crawling air’ o f the first quotation) or the unusual (like the deliber­
ate archaism o f Joyce’s ‘a proper man o f his person’). T h ey do
something which is a liberty not normally permitted in other styles
o f the present-day language. In terms o f syntax they must be called
wrong or mistaken selections. Here the literary style shows another
o f its unique features: the writer masters language below the surface
level and claims the right o f performance beyond the normal
competence. W hether we applaud or disallow the performance
depends on judgem ents which are not those of the linguist. But if we
applaud, the insights o f the linguist enable us to understand just
what it is that we are applauding.

§6 Linguistics and Literature

Page 65

Syntax 57

Nyutax is so great a concern o f modern linguistics that the reader
vvlio has studied any o f the books in the list following Chapter i
will have made some acquaintance with it. Another useful book,
11 led on p. 44, is F. S. Scott et al., English Grammar: a Linguistic
Study o f its Classes and Structures (London, 1968, Heinemann); see
I>|>. 213-24 for a survey o f the history o f English grammar and its
rurrent developments.

Applications o f gram m ar to literary criticism are made by
I). Davie, Articulate Energy (London, 1955, Routledge and K egan
Paul) and F. Berry, Poet's Grammar (London, 1958, Routledge and
K.cgan Paul). Particular studies o f single gram m atical items o f the
type mentioned on p. 51 will be found in G. R . Hamilton, The
Tell-tale Article (London, 1949, Heinemann); L. Spitzer, Linguistics
and Literary History (Princeton, 1948, Princeton University Press)—
nee pp. 10-14 f°r discussion o f the use o f the phrase d cause de by
Charles-Louis Phillippe; H . W einreich, ‘T he T extual Function o f
the French Article’ (Chatman: Style, pp. 221-40).

The syntax o f literature is considered by Leech, pp. 44-6; Nowottny,
pp. 187-222 (a detailed examination o f a poem by D ylan Thom as);
W. N. Francis, ‘Syntax and Literary Interpretation’ (Chatman:
Essays, pp. 209-16); S. R . Levin, ‘Poetry and Grammaticalness’
(Chatman: Essays, pp. 224-30); D. Davie, ‘Syntax and M usic in
Paradise Lost’ in F. Kerm ode, ed., The Living Milton (London, i960,
Routledge and K egan Paul).

A diachronic survey is m ade by W . E. Baker, Syntax in English
Poetry 1870-1930 (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1967, California U niver­
sity Press).

O n the Prague School and aktualisce see P. L. Garvin, A Prague
School Reader on Esthetics, Literary Structure and Style, (Washington,
D .C ., 1964, Georgetown University Press).

Page 128

Propp, V ., h i
prosody, 63, 85-98
punctuation, 35, 41, 86
Puttenham, George, 73

Quiller-Couch, Arthur, 12
Quirk, Randolph, 84 •

Racine, Jean, 95
Ralegh, Walter, 23
Reed, Henry, 18, 68
register, i i , 15-19, 23, 27, 34, 37»

46, 48-9, 62-3, 66-9, 74, 77, 80-81,
96, n o

religious style, ІО-ІІ, 13, 15, 26, 29,
49, 74, 80

rhetoric, figures of, 14, 51, 72-84
rhyme, 14, 24-5, 37, 46, 61, 93
rhythm, 36, 86, 88-92, 94-7
Romantic movement, 16, 64, 73, 88,

Rowlands, Richard, 91, 93

Saintsbury, George, 90
Saussure, Ferdinand de, 4, 9, 21, i n
scansion, 36, 86, 88, 90, 93, 95-7
schemes, 75, 79, 83
scientific style, 12-13
Scott, F. S., 44
semantics, 22-3, 47, 52, 59, 62-7,

106, 108
sentence, 33, 44-6, 88, 100-07
Shakespeare, William, 21, 23-4,

26-7, 39. 46, 49-50, 52, 58, 60, 63,
65» 67, 73, 78-9, 81-2, 91, 93,
96-7, 102

Shaw, George Bernard, 40
Shelley, P, B., 46
Shirley, James, 78
Sidney, Philip, 52
silence, 35, 104, 106
simile, 51, 70, 75-6, 82
Sinclair, Upton, 72
Skelton, John, 91
Smollett, Tobias, n o
sociolinguistics, I I
speech, 18, 32-43, 46, 48, 52, 58, 74,

80, 85-92, 94-7

1 20 Linguistics and Literature
Spender, Stephen, 76
Spenser, Edmund, 15, 60, 82
Spitzer, L., 102
Steiner, George, 62
stress, 34, 36, 85-9, 92-3
Stubbes, Philip, 23
style, definitions of, n -13 , 25, 73
surface structure, 55-6, 64-5
Surrey, Earl of, 91
Swinburne, A . C ., 46
symploce, 79
synecdoche, 77-8
syntax, 44-56, 58-61, 63-5, 68-9,

75, 79-8o, 83-4, 88, 92-3, 95-6,
103, 108, i n

Tennyson, Lord, 32, 38, 95
Thackeray, W . М ., 64, 69, 90
Thomas, Dylan, 1, 2, 26, 50, 56, 70,

Thurber, James, 103
Tiller, Terence, 56, 76
transformational-generative gram­

mar, 55-6, 104
Trollope, Anthony, 41
tropes, 75, 79-81, 83

Verlaine, Paul, 82

Waller, John, 61
Wallis, John, 30
Warner, Rex, 80
Webster, John, 78
Weinreich, H., 100
Wells, H. G ., 36
Whitman, W alt, 66
Wilde, Oscar, 48
Williams, Charles, 98
Williams, William Carlos, 54
Woolf, Virginia, 42, 75
words, see lexis
Wordsworth, William, 15, 54, 64,

69, 75. 9 1» I04> 110
W yatt, Thomas, 91

Yeats, W. B., 37, 53, 69, 82, 102

Zola, Emile, 72

Page 129

This lively introductory study of stylistics - the lin­
guistic study of different styles, in a sociological or
literary sense - is written for those who are interested in
any aspect of literary criticism or linguistics. Consider­
able antagonism has been generated by recent applica­
tions of linguistic techniques to the field of literature:
much of this work has failed to find a wide acceptance in
departments of literature, and moreover many linguists
feel that literature is not a proper area for linguistic

In this book Raymond Chapman shows that the two
disciplines can illuminate each other in many ways: that
linguistic analysis can make a precise and stimulating
contribution to literary criticism, and that literature
provides a rich and varied field for linguistic study that
does not in any way reduce linguistics itself to a mere
technology or 'service station'. He views literary lan­
guage as a distinctive 'style' - or indeed a number of
styles - which nevertheless springs always from the
common core of language and can be investigated by
the same techniques as are applied to other language-
styles. His examination of various areas of stylistic
analysis is supported by specific reference to literary
works over a wide range of periods and authors: 'Any
useful stylistics must be valid in all literary traditions. Its
exponents have a similar duty to that of the grammarian :
to offer a system which can accommodate all acceptable
realizations, without taking refuge behind the shelter
of ''exceptions''.'

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