The limitations of the linguistic analysis of literary texts

  • Anna Buckett
Keywords: The limitations of the linguistic analysis of literary texts

Abstract

"It is, I believe, a fairly common experience for those who have engaged for a good many years in the profession of lit­ erary criticism, to slip, almost unconsciously, into a con­ dition of mistrust of-all their most familiar and general terms. The critic becomes dissatisfied with the vagueness of his activity, or his art; and he will indulge the fantastic dream that it might be reduced to the firm precision of a science.”(John Middleton Murry, The Problem of Style 1922). The current enthusiasm of some literary critics for the application of linguistic methods to the study of style in literary texts is, in my view, related to a difficulty inherent in the field of literary criti­ cism itself.The terms employed by literary critics to describe and evaluate style do not seem to have, as John Middleton Murry puts it, "a constant and invariable significance."

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Published
1980-12-01
How to Cite
Buckett, A. (1980). The limitations of the linguistic analysis of literary texts. Linguistica, 20(1), 169-182. https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.20.1.169-182
Section
Articles