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Paul Butler applauds the emerging interest in the study of style among compositionists, arguing that the loss of stylistics from composition in recent decades left it alive only in the popular imagination as a set of grammar conventions. Butler's goal in Out of Style is to articulate style as a vital and productive source of invention, and to redefine its importance for current research, theory, and pedagogy. In so doing, he offers an important revisionist history of the field by reading it specifically through the canon of style. In addition, Butler argues that it is through style that scholars in the field can find a needed entry into public discussions about writing. Scholars in composition know that the ideas about writing most common in the discourse of public intellectuals are egregiously backward. Without a vital approach to stylistics, Butler argues, writing studies will never dislodge the controlling fantasies of self-authorized pundits in the nation's intellectual press. Composition must answer with a public discourse that is responsive to readers' ongoing interest in style but is also grounded in composition theory.
Utah State University Press
Butler, Paul, "Out of Style: Reanimating Stylistic Study in Composition and Rhetoric" (2008). All USU Press Publications. 162.