Page 2 of 8 FirstFirst 1234567 ... LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 114

Thread: The Style vs Substance Problem in Literature

  1. #16
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    919
    Blog Entries
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    substance over always because style changes to chase it is rather rages
    so I would they are not mutual they are habitual one depends on the other more
    substance subsidies style because style shifts it is unreliable because of the mood.
    style is language dependable.
    substance is it not because it is rectifiable viable to everyday situation it makes style undeniable it follows but changes.
    You claim that substance can exist without style and substance is not "language dependable;" so , I ask you two questions:

    1. How and where does literary substance exist without any style?

    2. How does literary substance exist independent of language?

  2. #17
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    2,297
    "Substance" refers to physical material. The "substance" of a sculpture might be wood, or stone, or metal. The "substance" of a painting might be oil paints and canvas or watercolors and paper.

    Clearly, when we speak of literary "substance" we are not talking about ink and paper, but about something else. What else, exactly, is unclear. We are using "substance" metaphorically. Stluke offers "content" as a reasonable alternative, but I'm not sure that works, either.

    The content of a work of literature INCLUDES its style, and the style includes the content. The notion that "style" is like a spicy, curry sauce that can make meat (the substantial portion of the meal) that has "turned" in the tropical sun palatable is, I think, incorrect. Let's look at a simple example. from Emily Dickinson.


    I NEVER saw a moor,
    I never saw the sea;
    Yet know I how the heather looks,
    And what a wave must be.

    I never spoke with God, 5
    Nor visited in heaven;
    Yet certain am I of the spot
    As if the chart were given.

    If "substance" refers to some meaning of a poem that can be paraphrased (some would call this "the heresy of paraphrase"), the poem says, "I can know what physical things look like without seeing them, and I can know about heaven without seeing it." Minor league stuff. Yet the "style" of the poem is simply a two verse, simple rhyme, with a simple rhythm. Only when the two are combined does the emotional resonance of the poem shine through. The style is the content; the content is the style.

  3. #18
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    919
    Blog Entries
    6
    I'm looking forward to your answer, Cacian. I'm sure you'll have something interesting to say.

  4. #19
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,420
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    The style is the content; the content is the style.
    Although it might be difficult to separate style and content, it seems they are different. Consider two teaching assistants in a math department using the same book and exams. One is courteous and the other is rude. Their styles differ, but the content of the courses they teach are not.

  5. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,275
    But two diffeerent contents notheless.

    Fish with Stlukes, there is something being said by Dante and Eliot and Dante with their style. There is the emotions they want to pass, there is a need to build and organize a world view for one and chaos and fragmentation for other. Picasso didnt paint that way because he couldnt do otherwise, it was the only way possible for him to express the emotions he wanted to express. It was an world view, as much as DaVince paintings had his world view.

    Change the math for a similar story, let's The story of the two that dreammed. Compare Borges telling the story and Paulo Coelho. Borges's precise and almost geometrical style is a way for him to show us what matters to him in the story: that two different men can have the same dream. Coelho poor style reflects the banality of his version, the limitation to the literal interpretation of the text (you will find what you search within yourself.

  6. #21
    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    India
    Posts
    1,502
    I feel substance is what the artist is trying to say, style is the way in which he says it, the way in which he communicates his vision to the reader. So every artist has his own style. Some are just a lot better than the others, and substance is also equally important. It is no use having a beautiful way of saying things if the artist has nothing to say. The two are different things, but both are important and essential for a work of art to succeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Change the math for a similar story, let's The story of the two that dreammed. Compare Borges telling the story and Paulo Coelho. Borges's precise and almost geometrical style is a way for him to show us what matters to him in the story: that two different men can have the same dream. Coelho poor style reflects the banality of his version, the limitation to the literal interpretation of the text (you will find what you search within yourself.
    For me the problem with this example is that both style and substance in Coelho's work is very much inferior to Borges. You say that the difference in substance lies in the difference in style. But I feel they are both saying different things, at different levels of intelligence, imagination and so on. Whatever may be the definition of substance, Borges has a lot more of it that Coelho. It is not just the style, though in this case, that also.
    Last edited by mona amon; 04-28-2015 at 08:48 AM.
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

  7. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,275
    Well, Mona, of course they are different, they different in both Style and substance. And of course, not just style, but that his style is part of the substance. With the way Borges writes, you are receiving information of what he wants to express in the story. The text is so clear, the structure is so well crafted that when the final idea is given (both dreamt the same dream), you already got the overall idea of borges, of this misterious structure in the universe cointaining mini-universes, the multiplicity of the same thing, the doubles. The style is not the substance, but it is filled with substance. It is not an accident or just a mania.

    But if you want two good writers, we can have Henry James and Kipling. They basically tell the same plot in The lesson of a master and The best story ever told. But the style is quite different and that is what lies all substance of both authors. The distance James keeps from the text, which is sort like the Sphinx without Oedipus, the lack of description, tells much of James game, his believe that things happens as an intelectual game. Kipling in other way make you jump in the story, give you much more details, flow you with imaginery, give us a first person narrative to engage you more, offer a possible explanation, a text by someone who, unlike james locked in his office, traveled around the other. The style is filled with substance, telling us a lot.

  8. #23
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    919
    Blog Entries
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    I feel substance is what the artist is trying to say, style is the way in which he says it, the way in which he communicates his vision to the reader. So every artist has his own style. Some are just a lot better than the others, and substance is also equally important. It is no use having a beautiful way of saying things if the artist has nothing to say. The two are different things, but both are important and essential for a work of art to succeed
    The problem with the argument in this paragraph is that for most--if not all artists--the style is an immense part of their substance. Poets and literary prose and drama writers don't just use words to convey their substance as meaning; the substance lies in the very words they use themselves, in the way those words produce both semantic and sonorous effect.
    Painters, particularly, post-impressionist and abstract expressionist painters don't just use the style of their images to convey meaning as substance either. The very style of their colors and images possess their own substance in themselves and their "relations" with the others.

    So, style and substance may be two different things, but they are never entirely separate in any work of actual art.

  9. #24
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,420
    Blog Entries
    2
    Alexander Pope writes: "The sound must seem an echo to the sense". (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sound-and-sense/) and Robert Frost talks of the "sound of sense". This makes me think that the problem of style and substance can be better viewed as how sound and sense relate in language. The style would be linked to the sound and the substance would be linked to sense, content, meaning or the intention of the words.

    If one looks at it like that then sound and sense (style and substance) are different and they are different from what one finds in an image which might not have any intentionality associated with it.

    In the case of Ecurb's example using Dickinson's poem, one can accept or reject the poem from two different perspectives. One can accept or reject the poem based on the metrical sounds that it uses, that is, one can judge it based on its style. One can also accept or reject the poem based on its theistic view, that is, the sense, content, or meaning underlying the poem.

    Because of that I think style and substance (sound and sense) are different and perhaps peculiar to language.
    Last edited by YesNo; 04-28-2015 at 12:38 PM.

  10. #25
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    2,297
    We discussed translation a while back. Does a translated novel consist of the content without the style? It certainly sounds different from the original. Is the content of a novel contained in the Cliff Notes summary?

    Robert Frost (the story goes) was once asked by a young lady, "I love your new poem, Mr. Frost, but what does it mean?"

    "Do you want me to say it over again in worser English?" Frost responded.

    For some human creations, style is contrasted not with "content" or "substance", but with "function". Two jackets can have the same function (keeping someone warm), but different styles. Yesno's example of a math book falls into this category -- there might be two styles by which one can learn to solve the same problem. For a work of art, the distinction is less clear, because the "function" of a work of art is to create an emotional response.

    Classical (wordless) music offers an example. What is its "content" or "substance"? What is the "style"? Can we distinguish between them?

    Yesno suggests the distinction between sound and meaning. It seems to me, though, that style also involves the juxtapositions of meanings, the structural similarities in the plot, etc., etc. Dickinson's style in "I never saw a moor" involves the similarity of both sound and meaning between the first and second stanzas. In "Anna Karenina" Levin's personality resembles aspect of the personalities of his two brothers, which helps the reader understand and think about Levin. Is this "content" or "style"? In music, the relationship of one sound (a note) to another creates a melody; in literature the "style" is created not merely by sound but by the relationship of one set of meanings to another (as is clear in Dickinson's poem).

  11. #26
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    919
    Blog Entries
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    Alexander Pope writes: "The sound must seem an echo to the sense". (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sound-and-sense/) and Robert Frost talks of the "sound of sense". This makes me think that the problem of style and substance can be better viewed as how sound and sense relate in language. The style would be linked to the sound and the substance would be linked to sense, content, meaning or the intention of the words.

    If one looks at it like that then sound and sense (style and substance) are different and they are different from what one finds in an image which might not have any intentionality associated with it.

    In the case of Ecurb's example using Dickinson's poem, one can accept or reject the poem from two different perspectives. One can accept or reject the poem based on the metrical sounds that it uses, that is, one can judge it based on its style. One can also accept or reject the poem based on its theistic view, that is, the sense, content, or meaning underlying the poem.

    Because of that I think style and substance (sound and sense) are different and perhaps peculiar to language.
    There are two significant problems with your argument here, YesNo:

    1. Style in poetry, literary prose, and drama does not just lie in the sound. It also lies in the semantic dynamics of the language, which you failed to address.

    2. The "sound" of a literary text is also part of the substance. The various sounds produced by the work's metre, lengths of sentences and paragraphs, and words are part of the substance of the works. They are not just conveyors of that substance. Anyone who has read poetic fiction writers like Morrison, McCarthy, or Faulkner; or any quality poets--particularly language poets--would see that.

  12. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,275
    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    We discussed translation a while back. Does a translated novel consist of the content without the style? It certainly sounds different from the original. Is the content of a novel contained in the Cliff Notes summary?
    A translated work is a new work, with its own style and part of the substance of the original, but also with a new substance. And Cliff Notes cointain just part of the substance of a work, which is not just the plot or characters (or whatever basic resume) but the feelings in a work of art. There is some confusion when people here are thinking that Stlukes means as content only information or data. It is more than that.

  13. #28
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,420
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    Classical (wordless) music offers an example. What is its "content" or "substance"? What is the "style"? Can we distinguish between them?

    Yesno suggests the distinction between sound and meaning. It seems to me, though, that style also involves the juxtapositions of meanings, the structural similarities in the plot, etc., etc. Dickinson's style in "I never saw a moor" involves the similarity of both sound and meaning between the first and second stanzas. In "Anna Karenina" Levin's personality resembles aspect of the personalities of his two brothers, which helps the reader understand and think about Levin. Is this "content" or "style"? In music, the relationship of one sound (a note) to another creates a melody; in literature the "style" is created not merely by sound but by the relationship of one set of meanings to another (as is clear in Dickinson's poem).
    I am beginning to see why language is different from art or music without lyrics. With language the words contain meanings which are pointers to something else beyond themselves. Music and art are pure style which can be pleasurable. Language adds "substance" or meaning to style which is the way the meaning is expressed.

    If that is right, talking about poetry containing "images" is misunderstanding language or trying to removing the substance or content or intentionality from the words.

  14. #29
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    919
    Blog Entries
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    Language adds "substance" or meaning to style which is the way the meaning is expressed.

    If that is right, talking about poetry containing "images" is misunderstanding language or trying to removing the substance or content or intentionality from the words.
    1. As I showed in my previous post, which I will post below, language doesn't add substance or meaning to style. The language is both style and substance:

    "Style in poetry, literary prose, and drama does not just lie in the sound. It also lies in the semantic dynamics of the language, which you failed to address.

    The "sound" of a literary text is also part of the substance. The various sounds produced by the work's metre, lengths of sentences and paragraphs, and words are part of the substance of the works. They are not just conveyors of that substance. Anyone who has read poetic fiction writers like Morrison, McCarthy, or Faulkner; or any quality poets--particularly language poets--would see that."

    If you would actually like to show how language adds substance to style, please do. You would radically change poetry and linguistics as we know them.

    2. Poetry is definitely about images, if not entirely about them. All poetry, particularly imagist and symbolist, poetry is partially about its images. So, the one misunderstanding language (and poetry) is you. You are, of course, free to show how poetry is completely bereft of images. Again, because images are an inherent element of almost all poems, you will not be able to do so.


    P.s. for a quick example of imagery in poems, here's one from the Imagist master, Ezra Pound:

    In A Station Of The Metro:

    The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

    Petals on a wet, black bough.


    There is no escaping the reality and importance of the images in that poem.
    Last edited by Pike Bishop; 04-28-2015 at 04:28 PM.

  15. #30
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    12,993
    Quote Originally Posted by Pike Bishop View Post
    You claim that substance can exist without style and substance is not "language dependable;" so , I ask you two questions:
    substance is us we make it happen our behaviour is substantial
    the reason for this
    we do not like changes we like the same because it establishes who we are
    routine is not necessarily negative it depends what it is
    that is substance
    we make it so we can cope ie exist without having to desist so not to become depressed

    we may at some stage become volatile and that it is because substance has stagnated
    because it has not gone anywhere new better
    without substance means we loose touch with reality of who we are hence volatile unreliable



    1. How and where does literary substance exist without any style?
    style is a luxury
    we come around it because we feel substance has lost track of us
    it becomes meaningless depressive it needs a style
    it is to boost our lack of confidence towards substance
    we wish to magnify it so we think we can see us better
    it has positive and negative and can retraced to becoming substantial again


    2. How does literary substance exist independent of language?
    substance is us
    literary is oral which becomes language
    when a style is established
    they both coexist because it is not possible to separate the human mind from speech which becomes words
    which in turn becomes heard as the literary device to get by
    to style is well is ideal
    style reforms it is to improve substance
    Last edited by cacian; 04-28-2015 at 05:46 PM.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

Page 2 of 8 FirstFirst 1234567 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Substance
    By organizedchaos in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-13-2011, 06:10 PM
  2. The marriage of Shadow and Substance
    By PrinceMyshkin in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-05-2009, 03:59 PM
  3. substance abuse in 1984
    By tendayi in forum 1984
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 08-22-2006, 09:25 PM
  4. Style of Literature
    By deep_sea in forum General Literature
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-19-2006, 01:07 AM
  5. The style of JC
    By Lincoln in forum Julius Caesar
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-24-2005, 06:07 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •