Academic journal article Style

Peter Stockwell and Sara Whiteley, Eds. the Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics

Academic journal article Style

Peter Stockwell and Sara Whiteley, Eds. the Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics

Article excerpt

Peter Stockwell and Sara Whiteley, eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2014. xvi + 689pp.

As mentioned in the preceding book review, the almost simultaneous appearance of the Cambridge and the Routledge handbooks of stylistics in a sense marks the maturity of this discipline. As a sign of disciplinary maturity, The Cambridge Handbook, for the first time in the history of stylistics, arranges its parts with the consideration of different types of audience, trying "to look in several different directions at once" (6).

The first part, which is intended for all readers interested in stylistics, offers a discussion of stylistics as a discipline with six chapters. The first three respectively deal with the theory and philosophy of stylistics (Toolan), the practical tool-kit of stylistics (Wales), and the computer-assisted quantitative methods in stylistic research (Stubbs). The latter three chapters discuss the nature and characteristics of stylistics from three complementary perspectives: a historical investigation of stylistics as rhetoric (Hamilton), a discussion of stylistics as applied linguistics in the form of a Socratic dialogue (Carter answering questions raised by the editors), and an exposition of the relation between stylistics and literary criticism (Hall).

The second part of the volume is intended especially for "students and scholars of literature" (7). It contains eight chapters discussing, from a rigorous stylistic perspective, a range of literary concepts, including genre (Busse, paying attention to generic stylistic changes in historical context), intertextuality and allusion (Hogan), production and intentionality (Sotirova), characterization (McIntyre), voice (Gregoriou), narrative (Mason), defamiliarization (Gavins), and intensity and texture in imagery (Dancygier). The chapter on characterization and the last two chapters of this part all approach an "old" topic from a fresh cognitive stylistic perspective. It should be noted that the chapter entitled "Voice" is not concerned with a character's or a narrator's spoken words, but with a character's unspoken "mind style," which seems to be a more appropriate title for this chapter since it is based on Roger Fowler's model of "mind style" and it only deals with different types of "mind style." Similarly, the chapter entitled "Narrative" is not concerned with narrative itself, but with actual readers' interpretation of intertextual references concerning the plot development.

The third part of the volume especially caters to "readers primarily concerned with linguistics and its application to literary texts" (7). It consists of nine chapters dealing with stylistic techniques and key features, including "phonostylistics" on paralinguistic vocal features in literature (Jobert); grammatical configuration (Mahlberg); "semantic prosody," as in, an exploration of the typical shadings of a word's meaning through collocation (Louw and Milojkovic); action and event investigated with M.A.K. Halliday's model of transitivity (Simpson and Canning); inference discussed from a pragmatic perspective (Clark); metaphor and style-distinguishing between different types of metaphor and analyzing metaphor across a poem (Steen); the foregrounding and burying of events in the plot construction of detective fiction (Emmott and Alexander); the analysis of dialogue in novel and drama--paying attention to the relation between a character's words and thoughts (Short); and, finally, a stylistic exploration of "atmosphere and tone" in literature, in relation to readers' cognition (Stockwell).

Part IV of the volume, titled "The contextual experience of style," adopts "a perspective alongside the natural reader of literature" (8). It comprises eight chapters, respectively investigating the following issues in relation to style: iconicity in literary texts (Fischer); readers' ethical positioning (Whiteley); fictionality and ontology involved in interpreting mobile interactive narratives (Gibbons); literary readers' emotions and feelings (Miall), narrative structure-especially concerning the collective representation of real events in social media (Page); dramatic performance in relation to readers' cognition (Cruickshank); interpretation based on consensual meaning (Jeffries); and a portrait of historical stylistics (Bray). …

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