By Brennan O'Donnell
The eagerness of Meter is the 1st prolonged serious examine of Wordsworth's metrical idea and his perform within the artwork of versification. in the past, really little cognizance has been paid to the connection among Wordsworth's try to contain into his poetry the language of "common existence" and the hugely advanced and decidedly traditional metrical varieties within which he offers this language. O'Donnell presents a close therapy of what Wordsworth calls the "innumerable trivia" that the artwork of the poet relies on and of the wider imaginative and prescient to which these trivialities give a contribution. starting with a reassessment of Wordsworth's usually misrepresented prose reviews approximately meter, O'Donnell argues that those comments-considered in mild of Wordsworth's perform and inside of their 18th-century context are extra unorthodox and hard than formerly concept. In emphasizing the actual physique of the poem because the website of a dynamic rigidity among conflicting passions - "the ardour of feel" and "the ardour of meter." Wordsworth locations problems with metrical shape and versification within the foreground of his idea of poetry. The middle of this booklet is devoted to an in depth exam of the weather of Wordsworth's craft. It units forth intimately the principles and conventions that govern the poet's conduct of metrical composition, picking out the idiosyncrasies that distinguish his perform from these of his predecessors and contemporaries. It additionally deals an in depth analyzing of a considerable physique of Wordsworth's poetry, with cautious recognition paid to advanced relationships among the trivialities of its sensuous types (metrical shape, rhythm, rhyme, assonance, alliteration) and bigger thematic, aesthetic, and sophic issues. As a departure from a lot modern feedback that has a tendency to regard poetry completely as textual content, the fervour of Meter demonstrates some great benefits of learning the main points of versecraft. O'Donnell sizes the significance of listening to Wordsworth's poems as sonic performances in time in addition to seeing them at the web page.
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Extra info for The Passion of Meter: A Study of Wordsworth's Metrical Art
The potential complexity of the "intertexture" of meter and diction (and its genuine contrariety) is developed further on in Wordsworth's argument when he makes the seemingly contradictory claim that meter frequently performs a function directly opposite to that mentioned in the preceding quotation. In cases in which the "Poet's words should be incommensurate with the passion" and "inadequate to raise the Reader to a height of desirable excitement," meter may "impart" the requisite passion "(unless the Poet's choice of his metre has been grossly injudicious)'': In the feelings of pleasure which the Reader has been accustomed to connect with metre in general, and in the feeling .
The presence of meter works continually and subtly to impress the reader with the obviously composed, overdetermined nature of the speech. Each phrase, each word, even each syllable is simultaneously able to be apprehended as an element of the syntax of expressive passion, as an element of an overarching, conventional pattern of repeated stress and sound, or (strangely and even mysteriously) both. Does the sequence "meadow, grove, and stream" take the form that it takes primarily as an index of a mind moving figuratively from fixity and containment to change and fluidity?
Meter chastened language, excluding inharmonious words and phrases, encouraging "poetic" variants of commonly used words ("e'en," and "ere," for example), and enforcing an elaborate system of elision and contraction of supernumerary syllables (the system that Thelwall brands as "barbarous'' in his Selections). " Scores of writers make the analogy between verse and the dance, arguing that versified language ought to sound "as much different from the language of ordinary discourse . . "27 Poetic diction is ideal speech, bearing approximately the same relationship to real language as a circle does to a naturally, round shape.
The Passion of Meter: A Study of Wordsworth's Metrical Art by Brennan O'Donnell