style (in literature)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

style (in literature)

style, in literature, the mysterious yet recognizable result of a successful blending of form with content. Generally speaking, all the arts reflect one of two stylistic tendencies: the classical or the romantic. When applied to literature the first term suggests objective presentation, formal structure, and clear yet ceremonious language, and the second indicates subjective presentation, organic structure, and obscure, effusive, or everyday language. Stylistically, Milton's Paradise Lost is classical, whereas Shakespeare's King Lear tends toward the romantic (see classicism; romanticism). But style is also the badge of individuality that distinguishes a good writer from a poor or mediocre writer. A good poet's sense of style will ensure that the words and lines of his verse cannot be deleted or rearranged without ruining, or at least weakening, the poem as a whole. Keats's sense of style made him change Stanza 30 of "The Eve of St. Agnes" from "she slept" to "she slept an azure-lidded sleep." At the same time, a style that is overblown attracts the attention of parodists. In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer mimics the medieval romances in "The Tale of Sir Thopas" ; Shakespeare parodies tragic diction in the "Pyramus and Thisbe" passage in A Midsummer Night's Dream; Robert Benchley's version of Dickens's Christmas Carol ends with a revised utterance from Tiny Tim, "God help us, every one." Commentaries on style abound. The most famous are themselves models of what they instruct. Among these are Horace's Ars Poetica (c.13 BC); Quintilian's Institutio oratoria; Boileau's Art poétique (1674) and Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism (1711), both verse imitations of Horace; Buffon's Discours sur le style (1753), a work all the more remarkable for being written by a naturalist; and William Strunk and E. B. White's Elements of Style (3d ed. 1979), a charming yet practical primer for the would-be writer.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

style (in literature)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.