REFLECTIONS ON COMPARATIVE HISTORICAL STYLISTICS
The aim of this paper is to discuss the status of comparative historical stylistics, the comparative branch of the historical study of literary style. Its objectives, methodology, and interdisciplinary connections are presented and a number of related issues such as its possibilities, areas of competence, and justification are demonstrated. The author's intention is to lay the foundations of that discipline, and to make recognised it on a wider scale. - The relevant issues are presented in the following five sections: 1. The comparative domain of the history of literary style and comparative stylistics; 2. Theoretical elucidation of the notion of comparison; 3. Topics of the discipline (a preview); 4. Comparative explorations in interliterary relationships and those between literature and other branches of art; 5. Comparisons within a single literature. - On the basis of the results obtained in each of the topics, the following conclusion can be drawn: comparative historical stylistics, this heretofore unrecognised branch of the historical study of style, is possible, justified, and necessary. The results that have been obtained and are to be obtained in this area will have to be submitted to further study. The main task for the immediate future is to attempt to reveal stylistic universals, as well as invariant features in the mass of stylistic variants. It is in that way that the emerging comparative discipline can progress, rising above single literatures, towards general stylistics, an overall theory of style, in line with exigent principles of the general theory of science.
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