EGH102 : Practical Stylistics

Convenor(s): Dr Joanna Gavins


Please note: This module may or may not run in any given semester. Please check with the tutor.

General Information

In this module you will have a chance to explore the language of literary texts and find out how we can use a range of linguistic models to investigate different textual effects. You will look at a wide variety of prose fiction, dramatic, and poetic texts, taken from a range of literary genres and periods. The module also investigates the language of newspaper journalism and politics. In particular, we will think about:

Among other things, you will learn how Jane Austen constructs her characters' personalities, how Tony Harrison uses pronouns to move his readers, how Kurt Vonnegut manipulates our expectations of narrative structure, and how politicians use language to win the trust of disillusioned voters.The module takes a practical and hands-on approach, and it will equip you with the linguistic and analytical tools you need to undertake your own stylistic analyses and uncover the inner workings of literary language.


Each week of Practical Stylistics deals with a different way of investigating literary texts. You will be given reading to complete from the coursebook in advance of your weekly classes, as well as exercises to prepare and think about. There will also be further information and interactive tasks to do on the module website. At your one-hour weekly lecture, the lecturer will talk you through a linguistic model and give lots of examples of how to use it to analyse literature. During your follow-up seminar, you can have a go at using the models yourself and share you ideas with your colleagues and your tutor, who’ll be on hand to give you feedback and answer any questions.


The module is assessed through coursework. In your first assessment you will be asked to present a 1,500-word analysis of the style of a poetic text of your choice. In your second assessment, you will also have free choice over the text you examine. You will produce a 2,500-word essay investigating the language of any novel or play from any period and any genre.

Contact Details

Dr Joanna Gavins, 0114 222 0214

Information last changed: Thursday 17th of March 2016 :: 04:56:35 PM (GMT)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK