The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetry and English National Culture, 1860-1930

By Meredith Martin | Go to book overview

NOTES

Introduction: The Failure of Meter

1. The records to which I refer here were destroyed in the Second World War and not the First World War.

2. Versification, according to its bibliographic record, was “a monthly magazine of measure and metre.” Only two issues are now listed in the online catalog and both are missing. In The Western Antiquary: Or, Devon and Cornwall notebook, vol. 11, the editor records, “We have received several numbers of a little serial called ‘Versification,’ edited by Alfred Nutting. Its chief feature is the publication of original poems by amateur authors, to which the editor appends critical notes as to the style and quality of compositions.” (“Current Literature,” The Western Antiquary, 30).

3. Bradbury and McFarlane, “The Name and Nature of Modernism,” 21.

4. Nadel, Cambridge Introduction to Ezra Pound, 26.

5. Cavitch, “Stephen Crane’s Refrain,” 33.

6. Beasley, Theorists of Modernist Poetry, 1.

7. Lewis, Cambridge Introduction to Modernism, 4, 3.

8. Herbert Read, in 1933, writes: “it is not so much a revolution, which implies a turning over, even a turning back, but rather a break-up, a devolution, some would say a dissolution. Its character is catastrophic” (Art Now, 58–59); C. S. Lewis, in 1954, writes: “I do not see how anyone can doubt that modern poetry is not only a greater novelty than any other ‘new poetry’ but new in a new way, almost a new dimension.” (De Descriptione Temporum: An Inaugural Lecture, 13).

9. Bradbury and McFarlane, Modernism, 21.

10. Cavitch writes: “the perpetuation of such liberation narratives is powerfully motivated, and deeply inscribed in our scholarship, our course syllabi, and our anthologies and editions” (“Stephen Crane’s Refrain,” 33).

11. This literary historical narrative, I am arguing, is largely based on reactions to the poetry of the movements associated with the modernist avant-garde as well as reviews of these poems by the scholars now known as the “New Critics.” For “difficulty” in modern poetry, see Steiner, “On Difficulty,” 263–76; Christie, “A Recent History of Poetic Difficulty,” 539–64.

12. Pound, The Pisan Cantos.

13. Prins, “Nineteenth-Century Homers and the Hexameter Mania,” 229–56.

14. For recent exciting work in Victorian prosody, see Hughes et al., in the “Victorian Prosody” special issue of Victorian Poetry, edited by Meredith Martin and Yisrael Levin.

15. This patriotic narrative of curricular reform in the English education system was often figured as an issue that pertained only to the men who would grow up to become soldiers and, indeed, the masculine aspects of English rhythm’s march through time was certainly a trope that appeared again and again. But I want to signal that this nar-

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The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetry and English National Culture, 1860-1930
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction- The Failure of Meter 1
  • 1 - The History of Meter 16
  • 2 - The Stigma of Meter 48
  • 3 - The Institution of Meter 79
  • 4 - The Discipline of Meter 109
  • 5 - The Trauma of Meter 145
  • 6 - The before- And Afterlife of Meter 181
  • Notes 207
  • Works Cited 241
  • Index 261
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