Features of literary trends as a possible principle of investigation: The history of literary trends as an applied discipline
The aim of this study is to present 'stylistic features' of literary trends as a new principle of stylistic investigation. In this view, these features serve as a reflector by means of which stylistic phenomena can be put in a new light. In other words, they represent new principles for the inquiry into stylistic facts belonging to various branches of stylistics. By way of this inquiry, we can deepen our understanding, we can penetrate into their latent 'content', and we can complete our knowledge of them obtained so far by other criteria, in terms of other approaches. For instance, by introducing such 'features' into the stylistic analysis of a literary work, our knowledge of the analysed work is enriched, and this 'addition' contributes to a better understanding and to a more profound interpretation and evaluation of it. In this way, one of the most neglected branches of stylistics, the history of literary trends (the history of literary style) can be considered as an applied discipline, and by way of this new aspect its importance may increase. In discussing these problems it is to be stressed that in this initial phase the question at issue, the possibilities offered by the history of literary trends, have to be judged as a working hypothesis; consequently, biassed exaggerations (unfounded refusals or undesirable overrating and misunderstanding) should be avoided. The structure of the study answers the purpose, the intended discussion of 'stylistic features' from various points of view. The first section deals with the problems of the subject-matter joined with the concept of literary trend, several matters of the history of literary trends and those of the underlying theory, i.e., textology. The following three sections present a survey of 'features' belonging to three branches of stylistics: stylistic evaluation, stylistic analysis, and style typology. The main task for the near future is to reveal stylistic universals, as many as possible, and to find invariants in the mass of stylistic variants, in the great variety of stylistic features of literary trends.
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