Course Outline

Course Number: English 312

Course Title: Introduction to Stylistic

Course Description: Introducing stylistic as the study of language in literature

Course Objectives:

  1. Sharpen ones awareness of how language works in literary text and author’s style in writing.
  2. Involve some use of linguistic terms, concepts and grammar
  3. Increase understanding of language resources and structures.
  4. Articulate an inward perception of the workings of a language and situate verbal technique of particular poems, short stories, extracts from novels, advertisements and plays.

Course Outline:

Unit I. What do we mean by style?

A. What is style?

-say what you mean

-say it in the appropriate tone

B. Wordiness

C. Verb trouble

D. Ostentatious erudition

Unit II. Stylistic Writing

A. Sentence Style

  1. Combining Sentence
  2. Sentence Variety
  3. Varying Sentence length
  4. Eliminating unnecessary be verbs
  5. Introducing quotations
  6. Fresh and precise adjectives

Unit III. Two types of Grammar that students should be aware of

A. “Big G” Grammar

  1. Part of Speech

B. “Little g” Grammar

  1. Repetition
  2. The Sentence Fragment
  3. The Labyrinth Sentence
  4. Orthographic Variation
  5. Double Voice
  6. The List of Words

Unit V. Stylistic Devices (Rhetorical Devices, Figures of  Speech)

A. Alliteration

B. Allusion

C. Anaphora

D. Antithesis

E. Hyperbole

F.  Hyphopora

G.  Litotes

H.  Metaphor

I. Metonymy

J. Points of View

K. Onomatopoeia

L. Paralyse

M. Parenthesis

O. Rhetorical Question

P. Simile

Q. Synecdoche

R. Understatement

Unit V. Gender Fair Language (by Jenny R. Redfern)

A. Sexist Language

B. Guidelines for Gender Fair Use of Language

Unit VI. Language in Literature (An Introduction to Stylistics)

A. Getting Started

  1. “Here” by Philip Larkin
  2. “This is a Photograph of Me” by Margaret Atwood
  3. “Inspiration” and “Skunk Hour” by Robert Lowell

Unit VII. Cohesion: Making text

A. What is cohesion?

B. Kinds of Cohesion

  1. Reference
  2. Ellipses
  3. Conjunction
  4. Lexical

Unit VIII. Modality and Attitude

A. Expressing modality: Modal Verbs

B. The Meaning of Will: Modality or Futurity

C. Methaphorized and Advanced Modality

D. Generic Sentences

E. “Living in Sin” by Adriene Rich

Unit IX. Processes and Participants

A. Material Processes

B. Mental Processes

C. Verbal Processes

D. Relational Processes

E. Behavioural Processes

F. Existential Processes

G. Literary Works Cited

  1. “The Whitsun Weddings” by Philip Larkin
  2. “The Conservationist” by Nadine Godimer
  3. “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold
  4. “Sonnet 65” by William Shakespeare

Unit XI. Recording Speech and Thought

A. Direct Thought

B. Indirect Thought

C. Direct Speech

D. Indirect Speech

E. Direct Speech

F. Free Indirect Speech

G. Free Indirect Discourse

H. Free Indirect Thought

I. Narrative Reports of Discoursal Acts

J. Pure Narrative

K. Works Cited

  1. “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen
  2. “Hezrog” by Saul Bellow
  3. “Rabbit is Rich” by John Updike
  4. “Scouse Grit: Jimmy McGovern” by Robet Crampton

Unit XII. Narrative Structure

A. What is Narration?

B. Elements

1. Abstract

2. Orientation

3. Complicating Action

4. Evaluation

5. Resolution

6. Coda

C. Works Cited

1. “An Ulster Twilight”  by Seramus Heany

2. “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake

3. “Wobbles: The Story of Syndicalism in the United States

Unit XIII. A Few Well Chosen Words (Diction)

  1. Diction
  2. Work Cited
  1. “La Belle Dames sans Merci” (Pitiless Beauty) by John Keats
  1. Metaphor

Unit XIV. Talking: Acts of Give and Take

  1. Talk: The Basics
  2. Identifying acts functionally and formally
  3. Complex acts, marginal cases and phatic “stroking”
  4. Works Cited
  1. “ Cloud Nine” by Carryl Churchill
  2. “The Secret Rapture: Scene Six” by David Hare
  3. “ Crazy Jane” by W. B. Keats

Unit IV. Presupposition

  1. Presupposition vs. assertion
  2. Lexical Presuppositions
  3. Works Cited
  1. “Speaker Chokes on a Diet Pickles and Beehoot” by Matthew Parris
  2. “The Africans: Encounters from the Sultan to the Cape” by David Lamb
  3. “Chapter V. Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly
  4. “A Bill For Establishing Religious Freedom”


Language in Literature: An Introduction to Stylistics. Michael Toolan


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