Peter Barry
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Stylistics
in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
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This chapter explores whether stylistics, a critical approach, is really a form of critical theory at all. It presents a historical account of stylistics with emphasis on critical practice rather than critical theory. Stylistics developed in the twentieth century and its aim is to show how the technical linguistic features of a literary work, such as the grammatical structure of its sentences, contribute to its overall meanings and effects. It is the modern version of the ancient discipline known as 'rhetoric'. The chapter describes the specific differences between conventional close reading and stylistics, as well as the ambitions of stylistics. A STOP and THINK section suggests readers to make use of a few basic reference tools in understanding stylistics. The chapter includes some critical activities of stylistic critics and presents three examples of stylistics, each of which uses some technical aspect of language in critical interpretation.

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Beginning theory (fourth edition)

An introduction to literary and cultural theory

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