What is Stylistics? Compare the Monistic & Dualistic approaches to style.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It might be useful to point out that stylistics as an approach to literature has been completely abandoned and dismissed by scholars since Stanley Fish's 1979 speech at the English Institute's convention at Harvard, entitled, "What is Stylistics and Why Is Everyone Saying Such Terrible Things About It?" His conclusion: "What they are saying isn't terrible enough."  Speech-Act Theory then took over as the main way into a text.

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user7668153 | eNotes Newbie

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Stylistic:There is a marked distinction between style and content. Style is what we call the ‘way of writing’ where as the content is what has been written or expressed. There are three different approaches towards establishing the relationship between the style and the content they are dualist approach, monist approach and pluralist approach. Let us examine all these in detail

Dualism: Dualist approach towards the style emphasizes on the manner of expression and not on the matter of expression.It can be further classified into two parts:

 

a)      Style as a dress of thoughts (Leech and short, 1981): It suggests that thoughts and the way of thinking are two different things. The thought may be the same but the way it is being thought may change according to the situation. i.e the words, phrases and the language used to shape up the thoughts may vary without making any changes in what is being thought. It is something like what a writer wants to say and how he presents it to the readers.

 

b)      Style as a “manner of expression” (Leech and short, 1981): This another dualism suggests that the content of thought may remain same but the manner of expression i.e the words, phrases, and the language chosen to express it may slightly change the meaning of content.

 

 


The Monists use poetry to illustrate their position. They believe that unlike prose, which can be paraphrased, poetry cannot be paraphrased. Thus, Poetry presents a point of departure because of the difficulty in either translating or interpreting its meaning. However, some critics in this school of Monism argue that the Dualists might be able to defend their position because they examined prosaic passages. Furthermore, they also argue that if they had examined poetry, they would not have been able to take such a stance they had taken. However, the Monists, after some analyses, concluded that there is definitely poetry in poetry in terms of their deep metaphorical expressions; poetry in prose, prose in poetry and both poetry and prose in drama.

However, the disagreement between the Dualists and the Monists is unnecessary as neither of the groups presents a position that cannot be faulted. The proposition that the Monists emphasize that 'form' and 'content' can never be separated is definitely not correct, separation is possible momentarily for logical, argumentative or analytical purpose. In the end, such an analysis would blend 'form' and 'content' (Osoba, 2001: 190). On the other hand, it is equally wrong for the Dualists to hold the view that 'form' and 'content' should be kept apart. Moreover, since a writer cannot write in a vacuum, it is difficult to examine 'form' without recourse to 'content.' Works of literature have to relate to the political, social and economic conditions in the society. According to Osoba (2001:190), what exists between 'form' and 'content' is not "an artificial wall but a dialectical relationship in which the former informs the latter and the latter elucidates the former."

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saharkhan | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Stylistics is the branch of linguistics  concerned with the style of the text. The use of elements like metaphors, smilie, parodox, oxymoron,etc is studied in Stylistics.

>The Monists, on their part, do not see any necessity in the separation of the content and form of a literary work. Rather they see an auctioning in any literary expression because they believe that it is impossible to give several meaning to a sentence or a clause in a work of literature.the Monists reject in particular, the Dualists' notion or concept of paraphrasing a literary text.

>The Monists use poetry to illustrate their position. They believe that unlike prose, which can be paraphrased, poetry cannot be paraphrased. Thus, Poetry presents a point of departure because of the difficulty in either translating or interpreting its meaning.However, some critics in this school of Monism argue that the Dualists might be able to defend their position because they examined prosaic passages. Furthermore, they also argue that if they had examined poetry, they would not have been able to take such a stance they had taken. However, the Monists, after some analyses, concluded that there is definitely poetry in poetry in terms of their deep metaphorical expressions; poetry in prose, prose in poetry and both poetry and prose in drama.

 

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