The limitations of the linguistic analysis of literary texts

Linguistica. 1980;20(1)


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Journal Title: Linguistica

ISSN: 0024-3922 (Print); 2350-420X (Online)

Publisher: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts)

Society/Institution: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: Philology. Linguistics

Country of publisher: Slovenia

Language of fulltext: German, Italian, French, Slovenian, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Anna Buckett


Double blind peer review

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Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

"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."