In common with other so-called traditional genres such as folk-tales and folk-songs, the ballad tends to have been neglected by practitioners of the modern discipline of stylistics. One reason for this is that stylisticians, influenced by the Formalist preoccupation with the notion of poetic language, have accordingly concentrated on those kinds of texts - usually modern poems, short stories or extracts from prose fiction - which as printed literature are felt to be fixed in form and of sufficient brevity and complexity for detailed linguistic analysis. Another reason is that 'traditional' material - which, by contrast, is often characterized by its extreme fluidity of form - has been widely felt to be the preserve of folklorists who have their own special interests and approaches. Thus, while folkloristic analysis has not entirely lacked a linguistic perspective it has rarely, unlike stylistics, been pursued within the context of modern linguistic theory.'