Saturday, May 20, 2023

Stylistics vs Literary Criticism

 We should not confuse stylistics with literary criticism. 

Stylistics (or linguistic stylistics) is a branch of linguistics. It investigates various styles such as scientific style, fiction style, newspaper style, business style, internet style, etc. 

Literary criticism is related to evaluating literary texts, i.e., analyzing works that are related to fiction.

Stylistics is a branch of linguistics concerned with the study of certain choices in the 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 language varieties 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, are all used distinctively and belong to a particular situation. In other words, they all have a ‘place’ or are said to use a specific 'style.' (

Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, 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. (

Linguistic stylistics aims to recognize and categorize the constituents of language in a certain text.

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

In some instances, computer programs can support text analysis.  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 language study moves into ‘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).

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Stylistics vs Literary Criticism

  We should not confuse stylistics with literary criticism.   Stylistics (or linguistic stylistics) is a branch of linguistics. It investi...