Stylistics and relevance theory

Clark, Billy (2014) Stylistics and relevance theory. In: The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. Burke, Michael, ed. Routledge Handbooks in English Language Studies . Routledge, London, pp. 155-174. ISBN 9780415527903. [Book Section]


Relevance theory is arguably the most influential approach to pragmatics to have developed from the work of Grice (1989). It has been applied in a wide range of areas, including accounts of reasoning in general, developmental psychology, and the understanding of conditions such as autistic spectrum disorders. The majority of relevance-theoretic work has been concerned with developing accounts of linguistically encoded meanings (linguistic semantics) and how these interact with contextual assumptions in understanding utterances (pragmatics). Accounting for interpretations is a key focus of work in stylistics, so it is natural that relevance-theoretic ideas have been applied to stylistics, providing accounts of particular texts and of particular phenomena involved in the production and comprehension of texts. It has also contributed to more general theoretical debates, for example about the nature of ‘literariness’ and authorial intention, and is beginning to contribute to accounts of formal literary interpretation and formal and informal evaluation. As has often been pointed out (e.g. by Pilkington et al 1997; Wilson 2011), the aim is not to provide particular interpretations or evaluation but to explain the processes involved in arriving at these. Relevance theory can also contribute to accounts of textual production and editorial processes, and to pedagogical work of various kinds. This chapter says something about previous, ongoing and possible future work in each of these areas.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Item ID: 13355
Depositing User: Billy Clark
Date Deposited: 30 May 2014 09:49
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 16:39

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.