A History of European Versification

By M. L. Gasparov; G. S. Smith et al. | Go to book overview

12
Summing-Up

72. Conclusions.
The material we have examined permits us to draw some conclusions, tentative but important.
1. The national versification systems of Europe exist in a close inter-relationship. In terms of their sources, they are connected by their common origin, and in their course of development they are connected by interaction and mutual influences. If a given phenomenon in verse occurs in several European languages, then this is usually either the legacy of a common source, or borrowing one from another, and only in the most exceptional circumstances is it independent self-generation (such an exceptional case was, for example, the appearance of rhyme in medieval Latin literary verse and Slavonic folk spoken verse). We have traced only the history of verse forms (systems of versification and the most frequently used measures); one may suppose that the history of stylistic devices and that of thematic images and motifs presents a similar aspect. Combining and interacting, these three layers would give us a full and rich picture of the dynamics of the European literary process, a historical poetics of European literature.
2. The development of one or another verse form in particular languages is determined by the interaction of the language concerned and international cultural influence. The language indicates (to a certain degree) what may not come about in the national system of versification. (Thus, in a language that does not have length and pitch, neither a syllabo-metrical nor a syllabo-melodic system can become established; exceptions, such as quantitative Arabic 'arūḍ in the Turkic languages, which lack length, are very few and far between). Then the culture determines what will in fact develop out of what can exist in the national system of versification (the syllabic or the tonic system, for example). And the activity of individuals

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A History of European Versification
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editor's Foreword v
  • Preface vi
  • The Author x
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Contents xiii
  • Notation xvii
  • I - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Slavonic and Baltic Folk Syllabic and Tonic Verse 11
  • 3 - Germanic Tonic Verse 36
  • 4 - Ancient Greek Syllabo-Metrical Verse 49
  • 5 - Greek and Latin Quantitative Metre 65
  • 6 - Greek and Latin Medieval Syllabic Verse 88
  • 7 - Romance Syllabic Verse 119
  • 8 - The Rise of Germanic Syllabo-Tonic Verse 166
  • 9 - Slavonic Literary Syllabic Verse 210
  • 10 - The Expansion of Syllabo-Tonic Verse 238
  • II - International Free Verse 274
  • 12 - Summing-Up 293
  • Appendix 297
  • Bibliography 314
  • Subject Index 325
  • Metrical Index 328
  • Index of Names 330
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