Out of Style: Reanimating Stylistic Study in Composition and Rhetoric

Out of Style: Reanimating Stylistic Study in Composition and Rhetoric

Language: English

Pages: 196

ISBN: 0874216796

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Out of Style: Reanimating Stylistic Study in Composition and Rhetoric

Language: English

Pages: 196

ISBN: 0874216796

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Paul Butler applauds the emerging interest in the study of style among scholars of rhetoric and composition, arguing that the loss of stylistics from composition in recent decades left it alive only in the popular imagination as a set of grammar conventions. Butler’s goal in Out of Style is to articulate style as a vital and productive source of invention, and to redefine its importance for current research, theory, and pedagogy.
    Scholars in composition know that the ideas about writing most common in the discourse of public intellectuals are egregiously backward. Without a vital approach to stylistics, Butler argues, writing studies will never dislodge the controlling fantasies of self-authorized pundits in the nation’s intellectual press. Rhetoric and composition must answer with a public discourse that is responsive to readers’ ongoing interest in style but is also grounded in composition theory.

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“homestead” as well constant support for my efforts. I also thank Matt and Aislinn Butler Hetterman; Chris, Pacey, and Jaida Butler Harris; Josh, Liz, and Koda Butler; Ann and John Osborn; Ken Fleshman and Vicki Maddox; Carolyn, Jim, and Amei Gove; Barb Fleshman and Bill and Nathan White; and Sally Butler. The book is dedicated to the memory of Shirley Butler, who always believed in my ability to achieve whatever goals I set for myself. Finally, I dedicate the book to Joan L. Baxter,

explain in part the absence of any discussion of style in important works that look retrospectively at the process movement. One example of this type of work is the 1994 edited collection Taking Stock: The Writing Process in the ‘90s, an account of process that looks at expressivism but does not include any substantive mention of style. Several Taking Stock contributors, in fact, suggest that one of the most prominent features of the process era was its retrospective link to expressivist

practice, and pedagogy. This chapter has shown that style’s exclusion from the field results, at heart, from an Out of Style 85 accidental affiliation with current-traditional rhetoric that denies the inventional aspects of stylistic techniques. Given the field’s turn toward social and public forms of writing, the advantages of an inventional style are clear. It seems that the time is ripe to bring the study of style, out of style for so long, back into the reservoir of language resources

linguists and writers interested in language in Russia during the 1930s—that there is a metaphorical langue/ parole relationship unique to literature: “The fact that . . . there is a real langue shared by literary and nonliterary utterances alike is quite overlooked and seems almost irrelevant” (10). She goes on to argue that the faulty analogy between langue (as literary) and parole (as nonliterary) has widespread implications for style and underlies “the overwhelming tendency to view style as

Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1900–1985. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press. Berlin, James A., and Robert P. Inkster. 1980. Current-Traditional Rhetoric: Paradigm and Practice. Freshman English News 8: 1–4, 13–14. Bernstein, Basil. 1964. Elaborated and Restricted Codes: Their Social Origins and Some Consequences. American Anthropologist 66.6 (Part 2): 55–69. Berthoff, Ann E. 1981. The Making of Meaning: Metaphors, Models, and Maxims for Writing Teachers. Portsmouth, NH:

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