A Book Review on the Text "Explorations on Style, Stylistics and the Language of Literature" Ed. E.J. Otagburuagu, L.C. Ogenyi, J.C. Ogbodo

Essay, 2020

5 Pages



This paper presents a review on seven chapters from the text Exploration on Style, Stylistics and the Language of Literature, the contribution of different scholars. This review investigates the argument which every contributor tries to present. The first part of this review is a summary of each chapter in paragraphs, after which a discussion on their stand point is done holistically.

Chapter Summary

F.U. Nnamani in chapter two of the text, titled “Linguistic Devices in Stylistics” looked at the relationship stylistics shares with other forms of language exploration. The boundary it shares with literature, literary criticism and language studies. Style according to Nnamani is the “manner or mode of expressing thought in language. Thus, it still borders on how an artist expresses his emotions and thoughts through language in a unique way. Hence, style is categorized as manner of expression, as variation, and as deviations from norms. Putting these together, one arrives at stylistics as the orchestration of various styles in actual language use. Through stylistics, linguistic features of grammar, sound, graphology, rhyme and so on are considered as unique features employed by an author for specific purposes that must not be undermined.

L.C. Ogenyi in chapter three titled “Theories and Concepts of Styles and Stylistics: a Diachronic Review” looked at the changes that has taken place in the theories and concepts of style and stylistics as a result of its continuous use in language analysis. How different scholars over the years have seen style and stylistics with divergent perspectives thus, the concept of style “has suffered” from too many definitions due to the scholars’ unfailing attempt to give a precise meaning to the word. However, all perspectives and theories all boiled down to revealing stylistics as part of linguistics, as a discipline which studies language structures and variations in a text, the study of language in literature, as well as the author’s manner of using language.

J.C. Ogbodo in chapter four with the title “Transliteration and Code-Switching as Elements of Style in the Nigerian Novels” examined style in a different dimension. Being that style involves an author’s manner of expressing his feelings, thoughts and ideas, he/she is not limited what style to use. Transliteration and Code-switching are styles employed by some Nigerian authors in their work, allowing indigenous language and culture to undergo structural adjustment and changes. This style brings a sense of belonging to the work, as the author brings the flavor of his indigenous language into English. The author argues that transliteration and code-switching in Nigerian novels should not be seen as a means of polluting the colonial language as some authors bring in “broken English”, as well as their indigenous language as Adichie, TuTuola and many others, rather, it should be considered as style.

B.O. Nwokolo in chapter eight titled “The Literary Text as a Linguistic Organization” looked at the characteristic nature of language as a system amd its functional role of communication and expression of thought with literature having no other mode of expression than language. Nwokolo in this chapter probed the concept of text, what it is and what it is not, and also explored text as a linguistic organization which consist of phonological, graphological and lexico-grammatical features. According to Nwokolo, there are texts of different kind, but the literary text is a makeup of various linguistic particles in language, style and form which presents it as an organization; a system which is made up of carefully orchestrated devices for informative purpose.

B.U. Inoma in chapter in chapter nine titled “Parallelism as Style Index in African Poetry” examined how African poets orchestrated their linguistic items to “expose or project their message”. Inoma looked at the poets’ personal ways of seeing things, how they transmit what they feel in different ways through the use of repetition which is one of the important structural attributes of parallelism and this is adopted from the African oral art. Inoma stated that parallelism is of different forms. Parallelism according to the author of this chapter “intensifies the theme of a poem, thereby making the meaning of the poem concrete and clear”. Hence, parallelism is a poetic device manipulated artistically into English expressions.

Kadiri in chapter ten titled “Style and Language in the Nigerian Noel” examined the concept of style as the man. Every work has a unique style because of the author’s use of language is a reflection of his being, through the elements of a fiction: plot, theme, characterization, point of view, symbol, humor and irony, language, and repetition. This chapter looked at the author’s ability to replicate a vivid mental picture of war, its effect and its aftermath on the people through stylistics. The careful organization of the title, characters and scenes, portraying the central theme which is “Echoes of Violence”. The author’s intension was to bring the sufferings Biafra’s went through to the attention of the modern day reader and this was achieved through the point of view.

E.J. Otagburuagu et al in chapter twelve titled “Foregrounding as a Stylistic Element” examined the origin of foregrounding, its meaning, how it could manifest in literary works, its examples, as well as the various functions it can perform. According to the authors, “foregrounding involves a conscious, deliberate, creativity in the use of words”. They also discussed forms in which foregrounding could occur in a literary text such as parallelism, repetition, assonance, alliteration etc., as well as its uses. They concluded by saying that foregrounding should be seen as an important devices in stylistic analysis, whether literary or non-literary analysis; it should be seen as a “normal formal feature of language” which is aimed at defamiliarizing a text.


Having gone through these chapters and their contents, and logically stating the authors’ argument, it was revealed that all the authors and scholars have a specific objective and that is to bring stylistics to limelight through different ways. They all agree to the fact that stylistics shares a boundary with literature, literary criticism and language studies and this brings us to David Crystal’s, perspective of stylistics, where he opined “that linguistics is the academic discipline that studies language scientifically, and stylistics, as part of this disciple, studies certain aspects of language variation.” Also, G. N. Leech buttresses this view by saying that “stylistics is a linguistic approach to literature, explaining the relation between language and artistic function, with motivating questions such as “why “and “how” more than “what”. The authors are of the opinion that whatever a reader encounters in a text should be considered style as the author has the ability to present his thoughts through any means that he deems fit.


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A Book Review on the Text "Explorations on Style, Stylistics and the Language of Literature" Ed. E.J. Otagburuagu, L.C. Ogenyi, J.C. Ogbodo
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book, ogenyi, otagburuagu, literature, language, stylistics, style, explorations, text, review, ogbodo
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Chidinma Dike (Author), 2020, A Book Review on the Text "Explorations on Style, Stylistics and the Language of Literature" Ed. E.J. Otagburuagu, L.C. Ogenyi, J.C. Ogbodo, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/520280


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