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Creative Writing and Stylistics

Scott, Jeremy (2014) Creative Writing and Stylistics. In: Burke, Michael, ed. The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. Routledge Handbooks in English Language Studies . Routledge, London, pp. 423-439. ISBN 978-0-415-52790-3. (doi:10.4324/9781315795331) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:42764)

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This chapter will explore a selection of the many potential interfaces between stylistics and creative writing, and will proceed from the premise that these interfaces have been underexplored to date. The observations are intended to relate not just to the pedagogy of the two disciplines, but also to the act of writing ‘at the coalface’.

In the introductory section, the fundamental paradigms of the chapter will be set out: first, stylistics’ posing of the question of whether or not there is such a thing as a ‘literary language’, and, second, the dichotomy between mimesis and diegesis (loosely characterised in the Aristotelian sense as ‘showing’ versus ‘telling’). In ‘Historical Perspectives’, a short discussion of connections between structuralist narratology and the act of writing will be combined with observations about the historical relationship between rhetoric and composition. The two paradigms come together in a ‘Critical Issues and Topics’ section, with the proposition that in literary discourse, the reader is ‘seeing through language’ (in both senses of that phrase), and that it will benefit the writer to take account of the processes involved in practice. A cline exists between ‘standard’ discourse, which aspires towards transparency, to more self-conscious, linguistically deviant modes of expression, often considered to be somehow more ‘literary’. The writer may situate their ‘voice’, whether in poetry or narrative fiction, at either end of this cline, or, much more commonly, at a point somewhere along it, or even fluctuating back and forth across it. The position of the voice on this cline is also a characteristic of literary genre (i.e. poetry versus prose). The ‘Recommendations for Practice’ section is the most substantial, and will include discussion of the following stylistic ‘tropes’ in direct relation to creative practice, and exercises through which the various topics can be explored: linguistic deviation and figurative language, point of view and focalisation, representing speech and thought, metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and, finally, rhythm and metre, sound and sense. ‘Future Directions’ will speculate on further possible connections between developing areas of stylistics and creative writing, e.g. cognitive stylistics, text-world theory and deictic shift theory.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.4324/9781315795331
Uncontrolled keywords: Stylistics, Creative Writing, Narratology, Linguistic deviation, figurative language, point of view, focalisation, metaphor, prosody
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > English Language and Linguistics
Depositing User: Jeremy Scott
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2014 12:54 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 13:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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