By Geoffrey Thurley
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Additional info for Counter-Modernism in Current Critical Theory
Not only does he not answer it, he seems oblivious to its importance: in his eagerness to Stylistics and Structural Poetics 41 establish his literary humanism he adopts precisely the pose of the literary critic which the 'science' of linguistics was supposed to have made impossible. Stylistics is nothing if not description of the text: and the value it can have is precisely its showing up of what I have called the text's shapes and tensions (empirically testable but not, as it were, physically 'there' as the actual vocables or brush-strokes are 'there').
There is no part of the work which is not subsumed under the heading of form. In a painting, 'form' is every brush-stroke, in a symphony every bar, in a poem every word. The fallacy of dissolving the deeper themes and meanings ofliterary texts into skin after semiotic skin would be avoided by re-phrasing the nature ofliterary form in this way. Since there is no part of the literary text which is not form, and - by the same token - no part which is not content, it follows that the content is precisely what is being peeled away in Barthes's model.
In neither case would I claim to be doing more than merely indicating lines of stress and emphasis in the work. I do not claim to describe the work as I might describe a photograph. Stilliess do I imagine that I am capable of rendering the quality of the work. Literary critics might well borrow a distinction from symbolic logic in this area. Philosophers distinguish between the structure and the content of propositions. Propositions can give us the logico-factual structure of an experiential entity, but only our sense organs can give us the flavour of the experience.
Counter-Modernism in Current Critical Theory by Geoffrey Thurley