The Writing and Reading of Verse

The Writing and Reading of Verse

Read FREE!

The Writing and Reading of Verse

The Writing and Reading of Verse

Read FREE!

Excerpt

No field of literary study has produced so many widely different theories and schools as that of versification. There are stress theories, syllabic theories, quantitative theories, "long and short" theories, "monopressure" theories, "rhythm-wave" theories, time part theories, historical theories, and so on, "in wandering mazes lost." This is

A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, Where armies whole have sunk.

Metrists hold to their prosodic prejudices with the tenacity of old-time theologians, and scholars will die at the stake for a definition.

The reason for these puzzling differences in point of view is the extreme subtlety and complexity of the phenomena of poetry. The elements involved are the meanings and the connotations of words; the accents and the movement of speech phrases; the number and the quality of syllables; their differences in intensity, duration, and pitch; the patterns and pauses of rhythm and meter; and finally, the personal equation of different readers of verse. These numerous elements now combine their forces and produce one effect, and now struggle together and create another, in ways apparently so inconsistent that rational principles are hard to discover. Each metrist finds one of these elements the basic principle upon which verse depends, and all the others subordinate in varying degrees; and like the philosopher and the theologian, each theorist makes his partial truth the whole. So the ordinary reader of poetry, perplexed by prosodic wars, asserts with a fine air of distinction that he does not find any principles of metrics . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.