You are on page 1of 21

The epithet and its classification

The epithet is based on the interplay of emotive and logical meaning in an attributive word, phrase or even sentence, used to characterize an object and pointing out to the reader some of the properties or features of the object with the aim of giving an individual perception and evaluation of these features or properties. Classification of Epithets From the point of view of their compositional structure epithets may be divided into: 1) simple (adjectives, nouns, participles): e.g. He looked at them in animal panic. 2) compound: e.g. apple - faced man; 3) sentence and phrase epithets: e.g. It is his do - it - yourself attitude. 4) reversed epithets - composed of 2 nouns linked by an of phrase: e.g. "a shadow of a smile"; Semantically according to I. Galperin. 1) associated with the noun following it, pointing to a feature which is essential to the objects they describe: dark forest; careful attention. 2) unassociated with the noun, epithets that add a feature which is unexpected and which strikes the reader: smiling sun, voiceless sounds. Epithet is probably as well known to you as metaphor, because it is widely mentioned by the critics, scholars, teachers, and students discussing a literary work. Epithet expresses a characteristic of an object, both existing and imaginary. Its basic feature is its emotiveness and subjectivity: the characteristic attached to the object to qualify it is always chosen by the speaker himself. Our speech ontologically being always emotionally coloured, it is possible to say that in epithet it is the emotive meaning of the word that is foregrounded to suppress the denotational meaning of the latter. Epithet has remained over the centuries the most widely used SD, which is understandable-it offers ample opportunities of qualifying every object from the author's partial and subjective viewpoint, which is indispensable in creative prose, publicist style, and everyday speech. Through long and repeated use epithets become fixed. Many fixed epithets are closely connected with folklore and can be traced back to folk ballads (e.g. "true love", "merry Christmas", etc.).The structure and semantics of epithets are extremely variable which is explained by their long and wide use. Semantically, there should be differentiated two main groups, the biggest of them being affective (or emotive proper). These epithets serve to convey the emotional evaluation of the object by the speaker. Most of the qualifying words found in the dictionary can be and are used as affective epithets (e.g. "gorgeous", "nasty", "magnificent", "atrocious", etc.). The second group -figurative, or transferred, epithets-is formed of metaphors, metonymies and similes (which will be discussed later) expressed by adjectives. E.g. "the smiling sun", "the frowning cloud", "the sleepless pillow", "the tobacco-stained smile", "a ghostlike face", "a dreamlike experience. In the overwhelming majority of examples epithet is expressed by adjectives or qualitative adverbs (e.g. "his triumphant look" = he looked triumphantly).* Nouns come next. They are used either as exclamatory sentences (You, ostrich!) or as postpositive, attributes ("Alonzo the Clown", "Richard of the Lion Heart"). Epithets are used singly, in pairs, in chains, in two-step structures, and in inverted constructions, also as phrase-attributes. Pairs are represented by two epithets joined by a conjunction or asyndetically as in "wonderful and incomparable beauty" or "a tired old town". Two-step epithets are so called because the process of qualifying seemingly passes two stages: the qualification of the object and the qualification of the qualification itself, as in "an unnaturally mild day" (Hut.), or "a pompously majestic female". Phrase-epithets always produce an original impression. Cf.: "the sunshine-in-the-breakfast-room smell. Their originality proceeds from rare repetitions of the once coined phrase-epithet which, in its turn, is explained by the fact that into a phrase-epithet is turned a semantically self-sufficient word combination or even a whole sentence, which loses some of its independence and self-sufficiency, becoming a member of another sentence, and strives to return to normality. Inverted epithets. They are based on the contradiction between the 1

logical and the syntactical: logically defining becomes syntactically defined and vice versa. E.g. instead of "this devilish woman", where "devilish" is both logically and syntactically defining, and "woman", also both logically and syntactically defined, W. Thackeray says "this devil of a woman". Here "of a woman" is syntactically an attribute, i.e. the defining, and "devil"-the defined, while the logical relations between the two remain the same as in the previous example-"a woman" is defined by "the devil". Epithet 1. Still watching the student nurses, Mc.Neil saw that two were deathly white , a third had gasped snd turned away; the other three were stoically watching. A. Hailey The author uses the above mentioned epithets to give better picture of the inner state of the characters. The word pale is rather neutral, while deathly white is emotionally coloured. It gives a vivid picture. 2. The golden strain of Polynesia betrayed itself in the sun-gilt of his skin and cast up golden sheens, and lights through the glimmering blue of his eyes . J. LondonThe author uses reversed epithets in the above extract to touch the reader s imagination. With the use of epithets, J. London makes emotionally coloured description of the character. 3. On the bottom of the huge and glassy lagoon was much pearl shell, and from the deck of the schooner, across the slender ring of the atoll, the divers could be seen at work. J. London The author uses simple epithet glassy to show that the water in this lagoon was pure. 4. The sun had disappeared, and a lead-coloured twilight settled down. J. London Hyperbole 1. He steeled himself to keep above the suffocating languor that lapped like a rising tide through all the wells of his being. J. London The author uses hyperbole to show that the hero was unable to say a single word at that moment. 2. You couldn t win from me in a thousand years , Danny assured him. J. LondonThe author uses the above-mentioned expression to show thato; s imagination. With the use of epithets, J. London makes emotionally coloured description of the character. 3. On the bottom of the huge and glassy lagoon was much pearl shell, and from the deck of the schooner, across the slender ring of the atoll, the divers could be seen at work. J. London The author uses simple epithet glassy to show that the water in this lagoon was pure. 4. 2

The sun had disappeared, and a lead-coloured twilight settled down. J. London

An epithet is an adjective used to denote certain characteristics to a person or a thing. For example That is a cheerful hello. In literature, adjectives for people are used to describe things for creative purposes. For example The restless night passed like a nightmare. Examples of epithets In the face of such a tragedy, his laughing happiness seemed queer. Sitting by his side, I watched the peaceful dawn. My careful steps reached the attic. The idle road stretched for miles. I had reached a delicate corner. All I can say is that he had an honest end. Her stifled laughter made everybody nervous. Her depressing ways ruined her mothers health. It was a sweet beginning to a tragic end. Example of epithet in The Odyssey by Homer Book one Athena visits Ithaca Ive come, as you surmise, with comrades on a ship, sailing across the wine-dark sea to men whose style of speech is very different Example of epithet in Lycidas by John Milton Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold A sheep-hook, or have learnd aught else the least That to the faithful herdmans art belongs! Example of epithet in Ulysses by James Joyce Episode 1 God! he said quietly. Isnt the sea what Algy calls it: a great sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks! I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother. Come and look. 3

Example of epithet in the poem Beauty and Beauty by Rupert Brooke The earth is crying-sweet, And scattering-bright the air, Eddying, dizzying, closing round, With soft and drunken laughter In Blue Evening by Rupert Brooke My restless blood now lies a-quiver, Knowing that always, exquisitely, This April twilight on the river Stirs anguish in the heart of me. In The Great Lover by Rupert Brooke Now, ere the unthinking silence on that strife Steals down, I would cheat drowsy Death so far, My night shall be remembered for a star That outshone all the suns of all mens days. Example of epithet in the poem Bredon Hill by A.E. Housman Here of a Sunday morning My love and I would lie, And see the coloured counties, And hear the larks so high About us in the sky.

An epithet is an adjective (or phrase containing an adjective) or adverb which modifies (describes) a noun. For instance, in "dreamless sleep", dreamless is the epithet. In a transferred epithet (also known as hypallage; literally "echange") the adjective or adverb is transferred from the noun it logically belongs with, to another one which fits it grammatically but not logically. So in "dreamless night" , dreamless is a transferred epithet. The exact meaning of the sentence is "night when I (or whoever) slept without dreaming," since a night can't actually dream anyway. We use transferred epithets all the time. Another example could be "I had a terrible day." "Terrible" is a transferred epithet, because it wasn't the day that was terrible, only the things that happened to me on that day. A more poetic example would be "a long and weary road" - long can apply logically to the road, but not weary so weary is a transferred epithet. Will Martin

Epithet Quotes
As a result of the feminist revolution, feminine becomes an abusive epithet. Percy Wyndham Lewis Children, I grant, should be innocent; but when the epithet is applied to men, or women, it is but a civil term for weakness. Mary Wollstonecraft In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are masters. Paul Gauguin epithet sentence examples

the branches bear horrific sharp axillary spines, as is suggested by the specific epithet ( gibson 1999 ). he, as well as the king, both deserve the epithet ' great ' . these defendants verbally threatened their victims and used racial epithets while chasing them through the streets of a chicago, illinois suburb. now may we be convinced of the propriety of applying the epithet " good " to humility or piety toward god. the adjective applied to the plant, the specific epithet, is often helpful in describing the plant. did you notice him then, secret and shy as an otter, transferring an epithet? the use of such epithets may relieve the spleen, but it teaches us nothing. as a result of this action he was given the epithet " butcher " cumberland. the same epithet is sometimes [ 240 ] coupled with the term relation, in which case the impropriety is still more glaring. the gig was organized by a promoter who uses the epithet " up for it " . and there may now have been a few other unsatisfactory epithets which had been conveyed to him from xan, via daphne. as a result he earned the epithet ' battle shirker ' . often the women joined in, and as they bid excitedly against each other the church rang with opprobrious epithets.

An epithet (from Greek language epitheton, neut. of epithetos, "attributed, added") is a descriptive term (word or phrase) accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title. For example, Frederick the Great.

In linguistics, an epithet can only be a metaphor, essentially a reduced or condensed use of apposition. Epithets are sometimes attached to a person's name or appear in place of their name, as what might be described as a glorified nickname or sobriquet. An epithet is linked to its noun by long-established usage and some are not otherwise employed. Not every adjective is an epithet. An epithet is especially recognizable when its function is largely decorative, such as if "cloud-gathering Zeus" is employed other than in reference to conjuring up a storm. "The epithets are decorative insofar as they are neither essential to the immediate context nor 5

modelled especially for it. Among other things, they are extremely helpful to fill out a halfverse", Walter Burkert has noted. Some epithets are known by the Latin term epitheton necessarium because they are required to distinguish the bearers, e.g. as an alternative to ordinals after a prince's name such as Richard the Lionheart (Richard I of England), or Charles the Fat alongside Charles the Bald. The same epithet can be used repeatedly, in different spheres of life and/or joined to different names, eg. Alexander the Great as well as Catherine the Great.

When suddenly the clouds parted and down came Jeez, a God appalled by how his name is used in vain. Love, Jason, Catalog Reference: jlvn1451

Literary usage of Epithet

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature: 1. Crabb's English Synonyms by George Crabb (1917) "epithet, ADJECTIVE. epithet is the technical term of the rhetorician; adjective that of the grammarian. The same word is an epithet as it qualifies the ..." 2. Lectures on Jurisprudence, Or, The Philosophy of Positive Law by John Austin (1885) "By the two examples which I have now adduced, I am led Tlie mean- to consider the meanings of the epithet unconstitutional, as it is ">K* of the ..." 3. The Iliad of Homer by Homer (1796) "For example, the epithet of Apollo, !xoA<;?, ... inimitably beautiful, is Fenton's variation of the permanent epithet of Minerva, azure or blue-eyed, ..." 4. A History of Criticism and Literary Taste in Europe from the Earliest Texts by George Saintsbury (1908) "The Stock epithet 'wo habits which seem to be mainly aimed at here and peri- (Alcidamas is still the chief awful example) are the ..." 5. Sobriquets and Nicknames by Albert Romer Frey (1887) "An epithet which was given to Gabriel Harvey. Nash says it was bestowed on him while at college, ... An epithet conferred on Gabriel Harvey by Thomas Nash. ..."

Judging by the words common use in todays media, one might imagine epithet to be no more than a synonym for insult. Some epithets are insults, but the word has a wider application. For example, look at all these epithets Handel applied to the Baby Jesus in The Messiah: Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Here are some Homeric epithets: many minded Achilles, swift-footed Odysseus, the ox-eyed lady (Hera) epithet 1. An adjective indicating some quality or attribute which the speaker or writer regards as characteristic of the person or thing described; 2. A significant appellation. OED 2nd edition. In 1993 this definition was added: An offensive or derogatory expression used of a person; an abusive term; a profanity. Leaving aside the literary uses of epithets, heres a look at some ways journalists use them.

Some epithets, first used by one particular writer, become so attached to persons and things that it becomes rare to see one without the other: powerful Ways and Means committee embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich worlds largest retailer Wal-Mart Sometimes epithets may be used to predispose readers to a positive or negative frame of mind without seeming to editorialize: Motorist Rodney King Troubled pop star Brittany Spears NFL star Michael Vick semi-repentant zillionaire Mel Gibson greedy Wall Street bankers Some thoughts on epithets 1. Cliched epithets are not intrinsically bad. They can be useful shorthand devices for writers and readers in a hurry. 2. The epithet is a respectable rhetorical device. Writers with more time at their disposal might revise for cliched epithets and come up with fresher epithets of their own. 3. If one is writing about someone hurling epithets it might be helpful to specify what kind of epithets were hurled. Were they racial epithets? Did they attack the target in terms of gender, politics, occupation, or morality? Its conceivable that a speaker could be showered with complimentary epithets by his listeners.

Epithets in Poetry
Poetry is a bringing together of many things: feelings, forms, phrases, figures of speech. It begins with -an emotion an emotion which, as Robert Frost said, develops into a thought, and the thought finds expression in words. "The poet's mind," wrote T. S. Eliot, is "a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together." In the act of creation "In all the "articles " - emotion, memory associations, a sense of rhythm - are fused, and the result is a new thing, a blending of all the parts, a union of the conscious and the unconscions: a poem. Words are the material with which the poet must frame his thoughts, and the greater the poet the more striking is his power of choosing and shaping words. Poetry is essentially a combination of the familiar and the surprising, and the most successful surprises are achieved by the use of carefully descriptive words or epithets. An epithet is a word which makes the reader see the object described in a clearer or sharper light. It is both exact and imaginative. Distinctive epithets are found in the ancient Greek classic, The Odyssey: wine-dark sea...... wave-girdled island," blindfolding night." Our national flag is a starspangled banner." In "Thanatopsis" Bryant (more poems) speaks of the ocean's "gray and melancholy waste." In " Home Thoughts from Abroad" Browning describes the "gaudy" melon 10

flower and the "wise" thrush. Michael Lewis tells of an oncoming storm with its "frantic" wind, "whipped" clouds, and "panicky" trees. In A. E. Housman's poem, "Bredon Hill", there is a much-quoted verse which runs: Here of a Sunday morning My love and I would lie, And see the colored counties, And hear the larks so high About us in the sky. A. E. Housman's brother, Laurence, has revealed how his famous brother found the exact and suggestive epithet "colored" to describe the scene. When he wrote the poem, A. E. Housman put down an ordinary adjective which did not satisfy him. Then, with the poem in his head, he went to bed and dreamed; in his dream he bit on the word "painted." This was better. But when lie awoke he was still not satisfied. He thought of using "sunny," "pleasant," "checkered," "crowded," and "patterned." Finally, he came back to "painted" which suddenly prompted "colored." This was not only exact and imaginative, but the consonant "c" in "colored" gave a musically repeated sound (alliteration) when joined to "counties," and thus made the line more memorable. Turn now to a much-discussed modern poem, Amy Lowell's " Meeting-House Hill." You will notice several things about it that make it different from many other poems you know. For one thing, it is in "free verse" that is, it has a free, or irregular, rhythm. For another thing, it has no rhymes. But its outstanding feature is its daring use of words. Observe the way sight and sound are combined, so that "the curve of a blue bay" is "shrill and sweet" - and, to accentuate the shrill sweetness, it is like "the sudden springing of a tune." Everything is intensified. An ordinary white church in a city square seems as beautiful as the Parthenon, loveliest of Greek temples. The poet is so thrilled by the scene that the unmoving structure is given motion. The spire "sweeps" the sky - and the movement is intensified by the comparison of the spire with a mast in motion, a mast of a ship in full sail straining before a stiff wind. The comparison carries the poem abroad. The bay beyond the railroad track turns into a harbor with an old-fashioned clipper-ship returning from China - and the past is united with the present. All of this is accomplished by the skillful selection and unusual arrangement of words. Rupert Brooke is another modern poet who used words with charm yet with great precision. His "The Great Lover" is an excellent example of the definition of poetry as "the best words in the best order"; it is full of epithets which are surprising but logical, exact and yet imaginative. Rupert Brooke delights the reader with such phrases as "unthinking silence," "drowsy Death," "we have beaconed the world's night," "crying flames," "feathery dust," "friendly bread," "the blue bitter smoke of wood," "many-tasting food," "the cool kindliness of sheets," "the keen unpassioned beauty of a great machine," "the benison [blessing] of hot water," "sweet water's dinzpling laugh," "the deep-panting train," "the cold graveness of iron," "turn with traitor breath." Robert Frost admits that poetry is impossible to define, but he adds: " If I were forced to attempt to define it, I would say that poetry is words which have become deeds." This active power of words was emphasized by Emily Dickinson in one of the briefest of her poems: A word is dead when said, Some say. I say it just begins to live That day.


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

An epithet is a word or a phrase which one uses to characterize something or someone. It highlights a prominent characteristic of a person or a thing by adding a word or a phrase, which can either precede or follow the term it is describing. The word was taken from a Greek word epitheton, which means added. As the root of the word suggests, it adds information to the word it is describing. Epithets can be used for many different reasons. One reason is to create poetic imagery and to portray the eminent characteristic of the characters. Homer is well known for using numerous epithets in his epic to describe the people and the gods. Many names throughout history had epithets to describe them and their characteristics, such as Ivan the Terrible. Another reason is to add more information about the person or the object. An epithet can simply be a job title such as Doctor A, or President B. Last reason to use epithet is to follow etiquette and to show reverence. Though the terms are not so often used today, Your Highness or Your Grace show examples of epithets that are considered to be etiquette; failing in addressing them appropriately could be considered to be extremely rude. Exempli Gratia Several examples of epithet can be found in The Odyssey by Homer. Homer, whose style is indeed famous for multiple usages of epithet, repeatedly uses terms such as rosy-fingered Dawn or gray-eyed Athena. By adding epithets rather than using simple adjectives such as beautiful or wise, Homer achieves style and beauty in his writing. He gives much deeper meaning to the words with epithets, allowing it to be interpreted by others in several ways. Also, such usage helped the people to recite the tales better and to remember the image of the characters. Other examples can be found in human history. Famous figures such as Ivan the Terrible, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Alexander the Great, and Joan of Arc are such examples. People used epithets to describe the person of the name. It is easy to see that the epithets in the example portray the well known attributes of the famous figures in history. Such usage often induced reverence from common people toward the names and their owners. Sources

An epithet is a word or phrase that describes an object, person, or idea, very specifically and clearly. It is often applied to a person to describe an actual or attributed quality. In poetry an epithet can be both descriptive or exact, as well as imaginative. Exempli Gratia 1.) A general example is when one might refer to a dog as mans best Friend. An epithet is often used in place of a name or title. 12

2.) An example from poetry read in class can come from William Cullen Bryants poem Thanatopsis. In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old Oceans gray and melancholy waste,Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The line about Old oceans gray and melancholy waste, in particular, shows an example of an epithet. It is a phrase that attributes specific qualities to the water more vividly and clearly. A figure of speech in which an epithet (or adjective) grammatically qualifies a noun other than the person or thing it is actually describing. Also known as hypallage. A transferred epithet often involves shifting a modifier from the animate to the inanimate, as in the phrases "cheerful money," "sleepless night," and "suicidal sky."

Examples and Observations:

As I sat in the bath tub, soaping a meditative foot and singing, if I remember correctly, Pale Hands I Loved Beside the Shalimar, it would be deceiving my public to say that I was feeling boomps-a-daisy." (P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, 1954)

"We're coming close to those little creeks now, and we keep a discreet silence." (Henry Hollenbaugh, Rio San Pedro. Alondra Press, 2007)

"[Peggotty] rubs everything that can be rubbed, until it shines, like her own honest forehead, with perpetual friction." (Charles Dickens, David Copperfield)

"As a poetic device, transferred epithet is a useful ornament, and it is often serviceable in ordinary prose as well. But the journalistic urge to compress, to shorten, to be breezy, which inevitably has its effect on other kinds of writing, occasionally produces some dubious uses of the device: 'A brief visitor to Paris'; 'Premier Castro spends incredible hours before the microphone'; 'Three out of five fires are caused by a careless cigarette or a careless match.' If a transferred epithet creates an immediate feeling of incongruity or ludicrousness, it is best avoided." 13

(Theodore M. Bernstein, The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage. Free Press, 1998)

"Carter had changed too, in a rather worrying way. His prose had got more and more muffled and meandering, increasingly clotted with strange, obsolete poeticisms. . . . He had been reading literary theory too, it seemed: as his style deteriorated his ability to score points increased. "'I see you've got the phrase 'dizzy orbs' on the next page,' Benson remarked, looking up from his reading. . . . "'Transferred epithet,' Carter said. 'Albert felt himself getting dizzy at the sight of them. It's called a transferred epithet.'" (Barry Unsworth, Sugar and Rum. Hamish Hamilton, 1988)

"You don't really criticize any author to whom you have never surrendered yourself. . . . Even just the bewildering minute counts; you have to give yourself up." (T. S. Eliot, letter to Stephen Spender, 1935)

"There will be the cough before the silence, then Expectation; and the hush of portent Must be welcomed by a diffident music Lisping and dividing its renewals . . .." (W.S. Merwin, "Dictum: for a Masque of Deluge." The Hudson Review, Spring 1951)

Expressive means and stylistic devices based on the interaction of emotive and primary meanings
Lexical stylistic devices include epithets, oxumoron, interjections. The main feature is that all of them realize to some extent the combination of primary dictionary and subjective emotive evaluating meanings. Logical meaning is the precise meaning of the idea, objest, the name by which we recognize a word. Emotive meaning materializes a concept of the word, but unlike logical meaning it has references not to the things or phenomena, but to feelings and emotions of the speaker towards the thing or to his emotions. Therefore the emotive meaning bears reference to things, phenomena or ideas through their evaluation. Emotive meaning is registered in the dictionary and is embedded in the structure of the word. "Good" has a positive emotive meaning. Emotional meaning is in the language in use only. It can't be registered in a dictionary; each word has either positive or negative meaning. Evaluated meaning can be positive or negative. Very often language evaluated meaning, situational and emotional meanings overlap. 14

Figurative meaning is a concept developed through a kind of impression which has been produced by the concept [a warm man]. Interjections are words we use when we express our feelings strongly and which may be said to exist in language as conventional symbols of emotions. They can be divided into primary <devoided of the language meaning and having only emotive meaning> [Ah! Oh!]. We regard them as negative. In the text they have emotive meaning; derivative - partly retained logical meaning, but emotional meaning is stronger [boy, well, fine]. Interjections may be divided into colloquial [gosh, well, why], bookish [alas], neutral [oh, ah].

Classification of epithets

Epithet is an interplay of logical, emotive, evaluative and figurative meanings. It has the following structure: adjective + noun [wild wind, loud ocean] verb + adverb [he laughed hartedly] There is a difference between the logical attribution and emotive. Logical attribution describes a quality inherent in the object [white snow], while epithet describes quality which is not or partially inherent to the object [heart-burning smile]. Classification of epithets 1. Semantically, epithets may be divided into two groups: a) associated is a point to a feature, which is essential to the object; they describe the idea which is to a certain extent inherent to the concept of the object [Dark Forest - the idea of the colour] b) unassociated are the attributes used to characterize the object by adding a feature which is not inherent in it; it will surprise the readers by unexpectedness and novelty; as a rule they are used to describe humour [bread-and-butter letter, stock question]. There is no clear barrier between associated and unassociasted epithets. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between these two notions [restless sea]. 2. We distinguish figurative and non-figurative epithets based on their figurative basis. Figurative epithets are metaphorical [foxy fates], metonymical [Cold War, Golden Years], ironical [] 3. From the structural point of view epithets can be simple, compound [heartburning smile], phrase [good-for-nothing boy], sentence [he spoke in what-are-yougoing-to-do-about-it manner]. 4. Originally, epithets can be trite <expressive means of the language> [dark forest, Cold War] and geniune <a stylistic device which is always subjective, new, renders evaluation and modality, is stronger than trite>. [a joyful mountain top - an epithet based on metonymical periphrasis]. 5. From the point of view of distribution of the epithets we distinguish transferred epithets which are originally logical attributes and describe a state of a human being, but they be referred to an animate objects [sleepless pillow]. String of epithets which gives a many-sided depiction of the object [rosy15

cheecked, aple-faced young woman]. Original unassociated epithets are used in belles-lettres style and poetry in abundance. In newspaper style we can come across a lot of cases of phrase and sentence epithets. Tried epithets are most powerful expressive means of the language in abundance.


Oxumoron is a stylistic device based on the interrelation of primary logical and emotional types of meanings. structural models: adjective + noun [sweet sorrow] verb + adverb [peopled desert] It can be trite [awfully happy] and geniune [proud humidity]. It can be used widely to create a humorous effect in advertising, publicistic and belles-lettres style.


Antonomasie is the interplay between the logical and nominal meanings of a word. Nominal meaning is that one, which, expressing concepts indicate a particular object out of it. [Society is now one polished horde, is formed of two mighty tribes: the Bores and the Bored - geniune antonomasie]. It is very important to know that this device is mainly realized in the written speech , because generally the capital letters are the only signals to denote the presence of this stylistic device. In this example of the use of antonomasie the nominal meaning is hardly percieved, the logical meaning of the word being too strong. It is intended to point out the leading, most characteristical feature of a person or event at the same time pinning this leading trate as a proper name to the person or event concerned. It is a much favoured device in the belles-lettres style. In Russian literature it is employed by many of our classic writers [Korobochka, Sobakevich]. Now it is faling out of use. It's now not confined to the belles-lettres style, though it's often found in publicistic style - magazines, articles, essays, military language [I suspect that the Nos and Do Not Knows would...]

It is an indirect reference by word or phrase to a historical, literary, mythological, Biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life made in a course of writting. The use of allusion presupposes the knowledge of the fact, thing or person, alluded to on the part of a reader or listener. As a rule, no indication of the source is given. This is one of the notable differences between quotation and allusion, plus there is a structural difference. Thus, quotation must repeat the exact wording of the original while the allusion is only a mention of a word of phrase, which is assumed to be known like an allusion, which serves as a vessel to poure a new meaning into. Allusions are based on the accumulated experience and knowledge of the reader. Allusion and quotation may be turned into non-set expressions, because they are used only for the occasion. Allusion thus is to be known more familiar. However sometimes allusions refer to the things, which need commentary. Allusions are used in different styles, but their function is the same. However, the discovering of an allusion is not always 16

easy [Pie in the sky for the railman. - It comes natural, that many people know the refrain of the song "you'll get a pie in the sky, when you die". Railmen had been given many promises, but nothing more].


Simile is a stylistic device based on the intencification of some feature of the concept in question [You behave like a savage. - the feature of wildness is stressed]. The object being compared by means of simile belongs to different classes [He folded himself like an umbrella]. While logical comparisson means weighing the two objects belonging to one class of objects with the purpose of establishing the difference [as clever as his mother], structurally, simile presupposes conjunctions [like, as ... as, as ... if, seem, look]. Simile and metaphor differ only according to their structure. simile falls into trite [busy as a bee] and geniune. Structurally, simile can be simple and sustained [His mind was restless, but it worked pervasively and thoughts jerked through his brain like misfirings of a defective carburator]. The word "jerk" in its microcontext like in combination with "thoughts" is a case of metaphor which lead to the simile (...the misfirings...), where the word "jerk" bears its logical meaning. The linking notion is the movement "jerking" which has a resemblence between the working carburator. Simile is widely used in the belles-lettres and publicistic styles.

Periphrasis is a stylistic device which has a form of a free word combinationor a sentence, which substitutes a certain notion or a thing. It is a use of longer phrasing in the place of a possible shorter form of expression. It can be divided into logical, which is based on one of the inherent properties of the object or, perhaps, features of the object described [place of destination = London, the most pardonable of human weaknesses = love]. Figurative periphrasis is based on metaphor, metonymy, irony [the Sun = the punctual servant of all work, to marry = to tie the knot]. Metaphor or metonymy is usually one word while metonomical or metaphorical periphrasis are the word combinations from which one can't ommit any element. Periphrasis can be divided into trite, fixed word combinations, like cliches hardly registered as periphrasis [wife = my better half, women = fair sex] and geniune [I understand you're poor and wish to earn money while nursing the boy, my son, who has been so prematurely deprived of what can never be replaced]. Periphrasis can also be historical [the King = the Victor Lord] and political, strongly associated with the sphere of application and the epoch they were used in. Periphrasis can be found in newspaper and belles-lettres style.

The variety of periphrasis is called a euphemism. It's a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one [to die - to pass away - to expire - to be no more]. Thus, a euphemism is a synonym with mild effect. Sometimes this effect is called a "white-washing device". Linguistic pecularity of euphemism is in the following: every euphemism must call up a definite synonym in the mind and the synonym must follow a euphemism like a 17

shadow [to possess a wild imagination - to tell stories in the proper context - to lie]. Such synonyms can be freshly invented. The euphemisms are expressive means of the language and are to bve found in all book dictionaries. They can be regarded as stylistic devices as they refer the mind to the concept directly, not through the medium of another word. We distinguish several groups og euphemisms according to the sphere of application: religious, moral, medical, parlimentary. The life of euphemism is short. Very soon they become closely associated with the referent and give way to a newly coined word or word combination. Political euphemisms are really understatements. Their aim is to mislead publicopinion and to express what is unpleasant in a more delicate maner. Sometimes disagreeable parts are even distorted with the help of euphemisms. Geniune euphemism must call up the word it stands for and it is always the result of some deliberate clash between the two synonyms [a woman of a certain type - a slut]. Periphrasis and euphemism were characteristic of certain literature trendes and even produced a term "periphrastic style". It soon gave rise to a more straightforward way of describing things.

Hyperbole is a stylistic device with a function of intencifying one certain property of an object described. It can be defined as a deliberate overstatement or exaggeration of a feeling or feature essential to the object (unlike periphrasis). In extreme form this exaggeration is carried to an illogical degree, sometimes a kind of absurdum [He was so tall, that I wasn't sure, if he had a face]. Like many stylistic devices hyperbole may lose its quality as a stylistic device through frequent repetition and become a unit of the language as a system, reproduced in speech in an unaltered form [scared to death, I'll give the world to see him]. Hyperbole differs from mere exaggeration in that it is intended to be understood as exaggeration. A Russian linguist Potebnya states "Hyperbole is the result of any kind of intoxication by emotion which prevents a person from seeing things in true dimension; and the reader is not carried away by the emotion of the writer, hyperbole becomes a mere exaggeration." Thus, hyperbole is a device which sharpens the reader's ability to make a logical assessment of the utterance. This is achieved by the awakening the idea of feeling, where the thought takes the upper hand, though, not to the detriment of feeling.

Use of set expressions

A set expression is a very wide notion, which covers such notions as phraseological units, idioms and phrasal verbs. Set expressions can be divided into two groups: logical and figurative. The last ones have figurative basis. Phraseological units are charcterised by the stability of a form. They are regarded as set expressions ready for use as cliches. Phraseological units are expressive means, while they are frequently employed and have no originality. They have emotive meaning as a rule [to drop like a hot potato = to stop]. Features of phraseological units: 18

stability of form the presume of figurative base emotive colouring belonging to the oral variety of the language There're two tendencies in the language studies concerned with the problem of word. 1. analytical - seeks to disserver one component from another 2. synthetic - integrate the parts of a combination to a stable unit They are treated differently in the lexicology and stylistics. In lexicology the parts of a stable lexical unit may be separated to make a sceintific investigation of the character of the combination and to analyse the component. In stylistics we analyse the components to get some communicative effect sought by the writer. And here we come to the cliche. A cliche is generally defined as an expression that has become hackneyed and trite. This division lacks one point: a cliche strives after originality whereas it has lost the esthetic generating power it once had. There's always a contradiction between what is aimed at and what is attained [rosy dreams of use, ripe = old age]. Definition from dictionaries show that cliche is a derogatory term and it's necessary to avoid everything that may be called by that name. The thing is that most of the widely recorded word combinations adopted in the language are unjustly classified as cliches. Cliches are unregistered in dictionaries. Phraseological units are, and they occur in different styles (belles-lettres, newspaper, official documents). Cliche can be part and parcel of other stylistic devices (sustained metaphor, complex figurative images). . Epithet is a stylistic device based on the interplay of emotive and logical meaning of an attributive (or adverbial) word or phrase used to characterize an object so as to give an individual perception and evaluation of some features or properties. It differs from the logical attribute which is purely objective. Compositionally epithets may be divided into several groups: 1) Simple or word-epithets (adjectives, nouns or participles): He looked at them in animal panic. 2) Compound epithets (compound adjectives): Apple-faced woman;3)' Two-step epithets (supplied with intensifiers): a marvellously radiant smile 4) Phrase epithets (hyphenated epithets): I-am-not-that-kind-of girl look. 5) Reversed epithets composed two nouns linked by an of-phrase: the devil of a sea Taking into consideration their semantic properties, linguists suggest different classifications of epithets, According to I.R.Galperin, epithets may be divided into 2 groups: 1) associated with the noun following it, pointing to a feature which is essential to the objects they describe: dark forest 2) unassociated with the noun, epithets that add a feature which is unexpected and which strikes the reader by its novelty. voiceless sands. Kukharenko classification includes: 1) fixed epithets. Merry X-mas, a valiant youth. 2) figurative epithets are formed of metaphors, metonymies and similes. smiling sun, sleepless pillow. Oxymoron is a stylistic device where the tenor and the vehicle are diametrically opposite, antonymous. It is a combination of two words with opposite meanings, living death, cold fire, delicious torment, you are awfully nice, pretty bad. Close to oxymoron is paradox, a statement that is contradictory or absurd on the surface: The worse the better. War is peace. Freedom is slavery.


At first sight, oxymoronic collocations seem irrational but on closer examination we find that they disclose the complexity of things and the contradictions of life. Oxymoron is often met within a simile (He was gentle as hell). The words have lost the primary logical meaning and are used only with emotive meaning as intensifiers; they have lost their

The present stage of linguistic research is characterized by a great interest towards the problem connected with the study of the text and its components. The present diploma paper is devoted to the comprehensive study of stylistic device the epithet in literature. Done at the junction of linguistic and literary analysis the work is concerned with a number of problems of the text interpretation, stylistic, linguistic and literary analysis. Despite the fact that there are many works devoted to the problem under analysis some important aspects such as structural semantic parameters of the text and lexical stylistic device the epithet as its component have not been fully investigated. This defines the actuality of the work and its theoretical value. The basic purpose of diploma work is formulated as a research of linguistic nature of epithet, its types from the point of semantic, structural parameters and its informational significance in the text. The given aim predetermines the concrete tasks of the research. The diploma paper pursues the following tasks : to substantiate tasks of text interpretation; to reveal the theoretical notion of the text and its categories; to observe emotional, evaluative, expressive components of the lexical meaning of adjectives; to work out the classification of types of epithet. The novelty of our work is that the epithet is inspected as the necessary component of the functional whole-text; the investigation of metaphorical epithet, from the position of intentional and implicational components of meaning. From the theoretical point of view this work presents the comprehensive study of epithet that makes it possible to reveal its linguo-stylistic and functional features. The research of structural characteristics of epithet and revealing its role in text formation makes the certain contribution to a further work in linguistic text. The practical value of the work lies in the fact that the results of the investigation can be used in the courses of lectures in stylistics, seminars in style and text interpretation and also can be useful for practical courses of English language. In this work there were used the following methods of linguistic analysis: words definitions analysis, contextual-situative and text analysis for revealing the informational value of epithet. 20

The work consists of introduction, two chapters, a conclusion, a summary and the reference list of the works used. The first chapter deals with the theoretical notions of the text and its categories, substantiation of the tasks of text interpretation. As a result of the study of these problems we can come to the conclusion that text interpretation resting on the junction of stylistics and text linguistics is aimed at extracting, aesthetic and meaningful, emotional information from the literary text. The second chapter is concerned with the semantic and stylistic analysis of the epithet. In the work the epithet is determined as a stylistic device based on the interplay of emotive and logical meaning in a attributive word, phrase or even sentence used to characterize an object and pointing out to the reader. The epithet always has the emotional meaning or emotional color due to peculiarities of semantic structure of adjectives. For the purpose of study of linguistic nature of epithet we dwell on the problem of lexical and stylistic meaning of adjectives. The use of adjectives as epithet as preconditioned by the contact and functional characteristics that is predicativeness, stylistic churdge and liability for stylistic actualization in the context. Next undertake the study the types of epithet and its informational meaning in the text. We suggested the following classification of the epithet: conventional or standing; explanatory, metaphorical, mixed and syntactical types of epithet (invertational and phrase). Under the conventional epithet we understand the firm combinations, which point out the property of the subject. The explanatory epithet points out the main feature of the word. The metaphorical epithet is treated as a sort of explicit metaphor. In the work there were described 2 types of the metaphorical epithet : intersional and implicational. In the mixed epithet the syntactical ties between components of the string of epithet do not coincide with their semantic ties. Inverted epithet is characterized by three variation of lexical components. The increase of expressiveness can be achieved with the help of word combinations or sentences functioning like a syntactically independent word. The research done testifies to the great role of epithets in the creation of imaginativeness, expressiveness, evaluativeness as the basis for exposing the writers attitude towards the given object. Thus epithets make a fair contribution to the revealing of the conceptual idea of the literary text.