By Clive Scott
Dr Scott argues that purely through getting to the correct destinations of phrases in line or stanza, and to the explicit worth of syllables, or through figuring out the usually conflicting calls for of rhythm and metre, can the reader of poetry gather a true take hold of of the intimate lifetime of phrases in verse with all their fluctuations of that means, temper and tone. The analyses wherein the ebook pursues its argument deal with important matters: the way syllabic place tasks phrases and colors their advanced and challenged via the connection of rhythm to metre.
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Additional info for A Question of Syllables: Essays in Nineteenth-Century French Verse
Whether it has a negative or positive charge can easily be deduced from its context and has little to do with its position in the line. But its position does have significance of a modal kind. In the alexandrines of the corpus, 'deja' always appears in the first hemistich, its accentuated syllable falling at position 2 or position 6 (there are two exceptions, but without consequence: 'Et deja', where 'Et' acts as a kind of anacrusis, and 'Deja, deja', where the second 'deja' merely reinforces the first).
In the preceding analyses, I have tried to suggest that thematically central words in Lamartine's lexicon have multifarious existences, and that this multifariousness has a prosodic foundation, in syllabic position, in syllabic proportion, in the size and combinations of measures. These analyses have been tentative and incomplete, and contain a large dose of intuition. But perhaps they have managed to demonstrate how diverse the modalities and affective charges of a single word can be, and how instrumental verse-structure is in releasing them.
And one of the ways in which the poem mediates is by acting as a backdrop against which any sentimental adventure can be set and thus acquire an intensifying sheen, the patina of delicately moulded and culturally authenticated perception. It is not difficult to see other reasons why Gautier might have appealed to the decadent: his attempts to release art from morality and functionality through the Tart pour l'art' principle, his display of the butterfly perceptiveness of the inspired dilettante, of the connoisseur of sensations.
A Question of Syllables: Essays in Nineteenth-Century French Verse by Clive Scott