Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stylistics and literary criticism


Stylistics is a branch of linguistics concerned with the study of characteristic choices in use of language, especially literary language, as regards sound, form, or vocabulary, made by different individuals or social groups in different situations of use. (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers).

Stylistics is the study of varieties of language whose properties position that language in context. For example, the language of advertising, politics, religion, individual authors, etc., or the language of a period in time, all are used distinctively and belong in a particular situation. In other words, they all have ‘place’ or are said to use a particular 'style'. (TheFreeDictionary.com).

Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists. (TheFreeDictionary.com).



The purpose of linguistic stylistics is to recognize and categorize the constituents of language in a certain text.

The purpose of literary stylistics is typically to analyze certain literary texts (basically fiction).

In certain cases, analysis of text can be supported by computer programs.  It is often used to make value judgments about the quality of imagination and creativity in the writing (of particular texts).

It is important to note that the study of language moves into either ‘linguistic stylistics’ or ‘literary studies’ or ‘literary stylistics.’


As we can see, there is a difference between stylistics (linguistic stylistics) and literary criticism (literary stylistics).


Newspaper Genres

Functional Styles

Research Topics