Articulate Energy: An Inquiry into the Syntax of English Poetry

Articulate Energy: An Inquiry into the Syntax of English Poetry

Articulate Energy: An Inquiry into the Syntax of English Poetry

Articulate Energy: An Inquiry into the Syntax of English Poetry

Excerpt

This book is built on a very simple plan. Its earlier sections are devoted to examining three main authorities in the field of poetic theory, each of which offers, explicitly or by implication, a theory about the nature and function of syntax in poetry. Then I try to discover, simply from the reading of certain poems, the different ways in which syntax can contribute to poetic effect; and I think I show that none of the theories will quite meet the case, because the contributions of syntax are more various and often more subtle than any one of them can allow. The remainder of the book attempts to show how this discrepancy between theory and practice can obstruct our reading, and sometimes also our writing, of poetry. In case the first sections should be dry and laborious reading, I have tried here also to introduce into the exposition and criticism of theory some passages and even whole sections of a more practical kind. This has the advantage of criticizing the theories by showing how their principles work out, when adopted and applied in critical practice.

I am grateful to Douglas Brown, Professor H. O. White, and John Broadbent for helpful criticism of earlier versions of the whole work or of sections from it. And I am particularly indebted to G. Warren Shaw for permission to incorporate some of the fruits of his researches into the attitude taken up towards poetic syntax by poets and readers in the eighteenth century. Some parts of the book have appeared in rather different form in The Twentieth Century and in Essays in Criticism; and I thank the editors of these journals for permission to reprint this material.

I also thank Mr. Ezra Pound for permission to quote from . . .

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