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Style in the making
The December 2004 issue of Cercles ( http://www.cercles.com ) proposes
to examine the possible geneses of style in the fields of literature,
art, architecture, music, costume, cinema, criticism and will welcome
Style has long been the privileged target of literary analyses dwelling
on the music of prose, the rhythm of cadence, the choice of words, and
any other figures apparently giving identity to the written text. In
these, commentaries abound in qualifiers—like eminent, penetrating,
accurate—which reflect the impact of an author’s style on the reader
and deserve further examination. Do they form a class of their own,
relying on some specific use of metaphor and “image schema”—as defined
by G. Lakoff (Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things, 1987)? Does literary
criticism have its own style as it has its jargon? Does it “co-respond”
with an author’s style or does it preserve its individuality beyond
conventions, propriety or fashion? Can literary criticism be seen as a
dialogue or a duel of styles?
For some time now, literary genetics has investigated the different
stages inherent to the writing process, the phases through which the
body of the text evolves until it is ultimately delivered. Can the
choices an author makes—be they the result of constant triturating or
the natural flow of unrevised sentences—help to define what style
consists in or of?
What then of “online style” which seems to reverse the usual process of
creation and promotes conciseness and clarity, in much the same way as
non-fiction does, without excluding the presence of a voice? Is there
still something called style, when worth is proportionate to the ease
with which the reader can skip words and yet preserve information? When
it must exclude metaphors, puns, cultural references in order to be
understood world-wide on the Web? Is there anything like an
international style being born on the screens of our computer? Is there
a future to online style outside the ghost of another “new Newspeak”?
This “chronological” approach can invite examination of the origins of
styles outside the literary. What, for example, gave birth to the
various architectural styles labelled Gothic, Elizabethan, or Victorian
at particular times? Were they connected with similar forms in costume,
furniture, landscape designing, painting, or literature? If only one
expression, e.g. Victorian style, characterizes all the forms of
artistic creation at one period, is it possible to identify generic
constituents at the source of that style?
More generally, could there be permanent motifs, symbols, or
representations inherent to a universal matrix of style?
Other representations and other fields (history, art, calendar time,
manuals of style, etc.) can of course be explored and will be welcomed.
Papers should be in English or French and not exceed fifteen pages
(2200 signs per page, MLA style).
Deadline for proposals: January 15, 2004 (electronic submission only).
Deadline for full papers : Septembre, 15, 2004.
Please send proposals to Mireille Quivy <mqv_at_club-internet.fr>
From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
Full Information at
or write Erika Lin: elin_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Tue Dec 16 2003 - 22:47:52 EST