Ongoing thoughts from a Nottingham English Lit Candidate

Frontispiece by John Vernon Lord for Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, published by the Folio Society in 2014.

Sketches, kernels of an idea or two, and making sense of the world of stylistic and literary linguistics

The shortcoming of such a great reader like Harold Bloom is, that for all his Gnosticism married to his ardour, he sinned against literary criticism by writing impressionistic analyses which were, as a rule, more difficult to read than the literature itself. If only Bloom had mortified himself with literary stylistics then would we have had a more brilliant literary mind who could have been more catholic, aye, and scientific in his literary criticism. Yes, more scientific. Were not philosophy and science one at some point? Why should it be less with literature, which gives us a sophisticated account of human’s ever-evolving ability to tell stories as much as they do tell stories?

Stylistics is the future. Bhaktin, Jakobson, and contemporary academics like Nottingham’s Stockwell’s work are tantamount to what Galileo and Newton did for science: bespeak an underlying account of the mysterious world of texts and text worlds much like these scientists attempted to offer an underlying account of the material world in the form of theories. To this degree, stylistics aims to offer an underlying account that seeks not to make definitive claims but rather organize our understanding of the wondrous relationship between readers and text-worlds — between text and the inexhaustible reconfiguration and production of meaning whose great leap is only inches away from the page to the tip of one’s nose.



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Allen Bauman

Raconteur and essayist with a funny bone. Educator by profession.