Shakespeare's Grammatical Style: A Computer-assisted Analysis of Richard II and Anthony and Cleopatra by Dolores M. BurtonShakespeare's Grammatical Style: A Computer-assisted Analysis of Richard II and Anthony and Cleopatra by Dolores M. Burton

Shakespeare's Grammatical Style: A Computer-assisted Analysis of Richard II and Anthony and…

byDolores M. Burton

Paperback | November 1, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 235 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Shakespeare’s Grammatical Style is the first full-scale, systematic study using an examination of Shakespeare’s syntax as a key to the interpretation of his work.

Dolores M. Burton presents information on the application of linguistic and statistical techniques to the description and analysis of style, and she has applied the insights and techniques of the major schools of linguistic inquiry, including those of London and Prague.

Just as studies of imagery and vocabulary have aided interpretations of the plays, so an examination of the grammatical features of Shakespeare’s language indicates that they, too, perform a poetic and dramatic function. For example, noun modifiers like possessives and definite articles yield insights into a speaker’s point of view or subtly aid in defining the fictional world of the plays. With respect to stylistic development, Shakespeare’s handling of word order moved from a concentration of dislocated sentences and clause constituents to greater emphasis on varied and frequent permutations in nominal and verbal phrases.

A computer-generated concordance of function words facilitated the study of syntactic features, which included an examination of formal aspects of diction, nominal group structure, the function and frequency of relative clauses, and the classification of sentences by mood and type. Several problems associated with quantitative and linguistic studies of a full-length literary work are discussed and exemplified.

Style itself is defined mathematically as a propositional function S(A), and from this definition stylistic parameters are derived by correlating critical notions like fictional world, point of view, and characterization with differences in the syntax of the two plays.

Dolores M. Burton was Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at Boston University.
Title:Shakespeare's Grammatical Style: A Computer-assisted Analysis of Richard II and Anthony and…Format:PaperbackDimensions:382 pages, 9.01 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:November 1, 2011Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292739664

ISBN - 13:9780292739666


Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Style as a Function
    • The Problem of Style
    • The Style Function
    • Two Models of Literary Structure
    • Consequences of the Style-Function Theory
  • 2. Locating Style in Literature
    • Methodological Preliminaries
    • Sentence Mood: Interrogatives and Imperatives
    • Representative Passages: Hypotaxis
    • Constant Topic and Varied Style: Adjectives
  • 3. Reflections on Stylistic Analysis
    • Style as Proportions
    • Grammatical Oppositions
    • Sampling and Weighting
    • Aspects of Word Order
  • 4. Grammar as Meaning
    • Meaning in the Grammatical Mode
    • Determiners and the Fictional World
    • Verbal Emblems and Point of View
    • Emphasis and Elevation: The Nominal Group
  • 5. Charting the Dimensions of Style
    • Dimensions for the Future
    • Dimensions of the Present
    • Defining the Style Function
    • From Grammatical Style to Rhetorical Style
  • 6. From Stylistics to Poetics
    • History and Poetry
    • Perspectives on Imagination
    • More Lasting than Bronze
    • Cleopatra: Spokesman for the Imagination
  • Appendix A. Supplementary Tables and Notes on Procedure
    • Interrogatives and Imperatives
    • Adjectives
    • Wh- Words
    • Sentence Structure
    • Constituent Sequence
    • Determiners
    • Nominal-Group Structure
    • Ant. 2.2.196-231: North and Shakespeare
  • Appendix B. Citations to Richard II and Antony and Cleopatra
    • Choosing the Random Sample
    • Recognition Criteria for Relative Clauses
    • Instances of Deviant Constituent Sequence
    • Determiner References to Major Characters
  • Bibliography
  • Index