By Clive Scott
Dr Scott argues that basically by means of getting to the suitable destinations of phrases in line or stanza, and to the explicit worth of syllables, or by means of knowing the customarily conflicting calls for of rhythm and metre, can the reader of poetry gather a true grab of the intimate lifetime of phrases in verse with all their fluctuations of which means, temper and tone. The analyses wherein the booklet pursues its argument deal with significant matters: the way syllabic place initiatives phrases and hues their complex and challenged via the connection of rhythm to metre.
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Extra resources for A Question of Syllables: Essays in Nineteenth-Century French Verse
Lacenaire') The reader is constantly invited into the poem, to see not so much what the poet sees as what the poet's description allows him to see or encourages him to see; the bareness or laconicness of the observations are precisely what creates around all objects an envelope of interpretative freedom and allows the infiltration of personal association. And this brings us to the second objection: description is not so much a matter of manner as of function. Description needs to act as a given, locating 'truth' in the perceived, endowing itself with referential plausibility by its apparent non-selectiveness; description is a controlled, ordering activity in which what is described has already achieved significance, finality and hierarchy.
16) Inasmuch as we rarely use instinctive or purely aural methods for ascertaining the number of syllables in a line, and inasmuch as we can safely assume that the incidence of versfaux in any sequence of lines governed by isometricity or strophic repetition will be exceptional, Cornulier'sfindingsmay seem to be of little direct relevance to verse-reading. But if, with the octosyllable, the reader is at the limit of his ability to register syllabic numericity, and if the octosyllable is devoid of any developed metrical system, to aid the process of orientation within the line, then we can assume that the reader will be more threatened by prosodic uncertainty than in other lines and that, consequently, he will be the more anxious to make the line manageable by segmentation, by creating or discovering accents as useful relays.
6+4+2 In the third section of 'La Priere', the poet, surrounded now by silence, asks what voice will offer praise to God - the second instance of 's'elever' occurs in the second line of the section. The section begins with a 'zero-state' hemistich. The urgent question which follows disrupts that state. And, in the following line, urgency is intensified and focussed in the single-syllable measure of Thymne'. The 5+1 pattern is rare because it involves the awkward need to accentuate two successive syllables; I have elsewhere described the consequences of this need: .
A Question of Syllables: Essays in Nineteenth-Century French Verse by Clive Scott