Introductory reading on stylistics (reading suggestions)


Reading time: 2 minutes

Here, we give details of a recently-published research report that explores the nature of integrated lang-lit work in schools/colleges and higher education and of three books that we feel teachers would find useful and interesting as they begin to teach AQA’s specification. All of these books cover topics in stylistics generally and so would be of use to teachers working on any of the AS and A-level units.

1. Billy Clark, Marcello Giovanelli, and Andrea Macrae (2015)

‘Language and Literature: From A Level to BA: 
Student Backgrounds and First Year Content’, available here.

This report is a recently published and very useful overview that explores and compares the nature of integrated lang-lit work at Post-16 and in higher education. We completed this initially as part of research carried out for the Higher Education Academy in 2013 and before the current specification was developed and launched.

2. Paul Simpson (2014)

Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students, 2nd edn., London: Routledge.

Simpson’s book (now in its second edition) is part of the excellent Routledge English Language Introductions (series editor Peter Stockwell). It provides a thorough overview of the subject together with activities, commentaries and extracts from some key readings. This is highly recommended reading for all Post-16 teachers.

3. Geoffrey Leech and Mick Short (2007)

Style in Fiction: A Linguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose, 2nd edn, London: Longman.

This is a classic text (again now in its second edition). There are plenty of practical examples of stylistics at work through detailed analyses of a range of prose texts. Chapter 10 offers a seminal introduction to the categorisation of speech and thought presentation, which would be really useful to teachers working on Imagined worlds (A level) and/or Views and voices (AS level).

4. Christiana Gregoriou (2012)

English Literary Stylistics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

This is a relatively more accessible book that covers stylistics in all three literary genres, including two very good final chapters on drama. There are also dedicated ‘practice’ chapters full of tasks and commentaries, many of which could be used with AS and A level groups.