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  • D05

    Comparative Reading. Stylistics as a Method of Literary Studies - Formation and Critique  

    Diagramm aus einer linguistischen Studie
    © Thomas Corwin Mendenhall / Popular Science Monthly

D05 | Comparative Reading. Stylistics as a Method of Literary Studies - Formation and Critique


How do we compare when we read, and how do we read when we compare? The project “Comparative Reading. Constitution and Critique of Stylistics as a Method of Literary Studies” conceives of ‘reading’ as a practice of comparing and explores how such comparative reading practices in literary studies have evolved over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries. The pivotal question in this project turns on the notion of style: while style can be considered a comparatum and an object of comparison in the process of knowledge production in literary studies, it can also function as a tertium comparationis in the comparison of literary texts, authors, genres and epochs.

Whereas comparative parameters in early 20th-century stylistics, such as the notions of ‘author’ or ‘work’, were rendered less stable by structuralist and post-structuralist theories of literature, in recent years we observe a critical reaffirmation of such reference categories in comparing of style in literary studies. The project takes the latent continuities in the history of stylistics as a starting point for an investigation, within the framework of two sub-studies, of the stylistic critique of post-structuralism and the modifications of practices of comparing in the field of digital humanities. Here, central questions are: Does post-structuralist stylistic criticism prompt a critical revision of contemporary stylistics? In what ways does digitalisation shape comparative reading?

Project Management

© Philipp Ottendörfer

Elisa Ronzheimer

Academic Co-worker

© Philipp Ottendörfer

Kristina Petzold

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