A Linguistic History of English Poetry

By Richard Bradford | Go to book overview

1

Theory

INTRODUCTION: THE DOUBLE PATTERN

The question of how poetry might be described and defined as a linguistic structure has troubled readers since…well, since we have been able to keep records of what critics have said about literature. Regarding English poetry, this quest can be divided roughly into three stages: the classical sources (Aristotle, Plato, Longinus, etc.); the sixteenth-nineteenth centuries, in which critics both drew upon classical precedent and developed theories to account for the types, methods and objectives of modern English poetry; and the twentieth century, in which literary criticism has become an academic discipline and has found itself encountering, sometimes harmoniously and sometimes not, the non-literary practices of historicism, semiotics, sociology, politics and, most significantly, linguistics.

Apart from sharing the objective of defining poetry, the critics of these periods have one other, more paradoxical, thing in common. They already know what in purely abstract terms poetry is, but they remain uncertain about what exactly it does to and for the reader, precisely how these effects are achieved and to what extent such effects can be identified as purely poetic, rather than as elements drawn from the signifying procedures of other linguistic discourses. I can tell you in crude but accurate terms how to recognise a poem: it is a structure whose formal common denominator-that which separates it from non-poetic discourse-is its division into lines. The title of that rare and briefly fashionable phenomenon, the prose poem, testifies to the validity of my definition-the text calls itself a prose poem in order to warn the reader of its claims to be something that in basic empirical and formal terms it is not. The problem, or the paradox, faces us when we attempt to state how,

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Linguistic History of English Poetry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 225

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.