Stylistics: Language in Literature - LING5500

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) Jeremy Scott checkmark-circle


This module is concerned with the stylistic analysis of literature and is based on the premise that the decision to study literature is also a decision to study the expressive mechanics of language (and vice versa). Attention is given to all three main genres (poetry, prose fiction and drama); thus the module is divided into three blocks according to the kind of text analysed. The first section examines poetry and considers topics such as patterns of lexis, phonetic and metrical organisation and the relationship to meaning; the second looks at fiction through patterns of style variation, inferencing and speech thought presentation; the third examines drama and considers topics such as the patterns in turn-taking and their relationship to the roles and functions of characters, speech act analysis and styles of politeness behaviour. At all stages of the module, the social and cultural context of the works studies will be an important consideration.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
• Essay 1 (1,000 words) – 30%
• Essay 2 (2,000 words) – 70%

Reassessment methods
• Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Select and apply precise linguistic, stylistic and narratological terminology to the study of poetry, prose and drama texts;
2 Analyse the linguistic and stylistic choices a writer makes which are connected with meaning and effect on the reader;
3 Extrapolate from linguistic examples and evidence those characteristics that contribute to individual authorial 'style' and worldview, including the effect of social and
cultural context on the production of literary meaning;
4 Demonstrate their understanding of the interconnections and interfaces between English literature and language;
5 Present, evaluate and interpret both qualitative and quantitative stylistic and linguistic data to develop lines of argument and make sound judgements about literary
6 Demonstrate a detailed understanding of concepts relating to literary genre.

The intended generic learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Engage in critical reflection, verbal discussion and written analysis of various core theoretical texts, exemplar texts and secondary critical commentary and to devise and
sustain arguments relating to this analysis using ideas and techniques at the forefront of the discipline; students will also gain an appreciation of the uncertainty and
ambiguity of language and meaning through engagement with this body of critical and stylistic theory;
2 Make judgments about the appropriateness of different theoretical approaches to problem-solving in texts, frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution – or identify
a range of solutions - and evaluate the efficacy of such approaches;
3 Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent learning (exercising initiative and personal responsibility), use secondary texts with critical discrimination, reflect
critically on their own academic work and present cogent arguments in written form.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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