Course module - Historical Stylistics: the Language of Robert Burns
Code : LELA30461 (LI3461) Credit rating: 20 Semester : 1
Knowledge and understanding: Students will acquire a greater knowledge of the range of approaches and areas of enquiry specific to historical stylistics. They will develop an understanding of how a historical stylistics perspective can illuminate the English and Scots language of the poetry of Robert Burns.
Practical skills: By applying the methodologies and concepts of historical stylistics to Burns’s poetry, students will learn how to analyse and describe the subtle linguistic effects of a broad and varied body of work within its historical context.
Intellectual skills: Through reading, understanding and describing passages featuring complex combinations of different styles, students will develop interpretative and analytical skills. Identifying and utilising historical material in the analytical process will also encourage students to approach the language of literary texts imaginatively and with a greater sense of the factors that affect how we perceive it.
Transferable skills: In searching online archives and library resources for secondary and historical material, students will gain a thorough grounding in research methods. Additionally, by completing coursework they will demonstrate their time-management skills and ability to work to deadlines.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
Nature and Timing of Feedback: written individual comments on first piece of coursework (returned two weeks after submission); face-to-face or email discussion if desired; global feedback on Blackboard.
Two 3,000-word essays.
Deadlines for assessed coursework: first essay due in on the first day of teaching after reading week; second essay due in on the first day of the exam period in January.
The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the ideas and methodologies of historical stylistics. You will develop the skills to analyse the style of literary works in relation to language change. By attending to the contemporary linguistic context surrounding a work, you will gain a greater and more nuanced understanding of the historical life of a writer’s words, grammar and syntax. Focusing in particular on the controversial language of the eighteenth-century poet Robert Burns, you will explore how developments in the interrelated histories of English and Scots affected his use of - and continues to influence our perceptions of - stereotypes and other kinds of marker, code-switching, foregrounding devices, different forms of address, gendered terms and more.
Lectures / seminars Mondays at 11.00-13.00.
One-hour lecture and one-hour seminar per week.
Beal, Joan. 1997. Syntax and Morphology. In Charles Jones (ed.). The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, 335-77. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Burns, Robert. 1969. Poems and Songs. James Kinsley (ed.). London & New York: Oxford University Press.
Crawford, Thomas. 1960. Robert Burns: A study of the poems and songs. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.
Corbett, John, J. Derrick McClure & Jane Stuart-Smith. 2003. ‘A brief history of Scots’. In John Corbett, J. Derrick McClure & Jane Stuart-Smith (eds.). The Edinburgh Companion to Scots, 1-16. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Corbett, John. 1997. Language and Scottish Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Dossena, Marina. 2005 . Scotticisms in grammar and vocabulary:
'Like runes upon a standin' stane'. Edinburgh: John Donald.
Lass, Roger. 1999. ‘Phonology and Morphology’. In Roger Lass (ed.). The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume 3: 1476-1776, 56-186. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McClure, J. Derrick (ed.). 1983. Scotland and the Lowland Tongue: Studies in the language and literature of Lowland Scotland; in honour of David D. Martin. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press.
Smith, Jeremy. 2007. ‘Copia Verborum: The Linguistic Choices of Robert Burns’. The Review of English Studies 233.73-88
Tulloch, Graham. 1997. ‘Lexis’. In Charles Jones (ed.). The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, 378-432. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- plus further readings to be specified from week to week