Meter Matters: Verse Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century

Overview

Across the nineteenth century, meter mattered-in more ways and to more people than we might well appreciate today. For the period's poets, metrical matters were a source of inspiration and often vehement debate. And the many readers, teachers, and pupils encountered meter and related topics in both institutional and popular forms.

The ten essays in Meter Matters showcase the range of metrical practice of poets from Wordsworth and Byron to Hopkins, Swinburne, and Tennyson; at the...

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Meter Matters: Verse Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century

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Overview

Across the nineteenth century, meter mattered-in more ways and to more people than we might well appreciate today. For the period's poets, metrical matters were a source of inspiration and often vehement debate. And the many readers, teachers, and pupils encountered meter and related topics in both institutional and popular forms.

The ten essays in Meter Matters showcase the range of metrical practice of poets from Wordsworth and Byron to Hopkins, Swinburne, and Tennyson; at the same time, the contributors bring into focus some of the metrical theorizing that shaped poetic thinking and responses to it throughout the nineteenth century. Paying close attention to the historical contours of Romantic and Victorian meters, as well as to the minute workings of the verse line, Meter Matters presents a fresh perspective on a subject that figured significantly in the century's literature, and in its culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hall’s edited collection is…alive to the latest scholarship, and full of excitingly experimental research.”
Cambridge Quarterly

“This outstanding collection traces the heated debates over the meaning and practice of metrical forms in 19th-century England (and to a lesser extent in the US).... The essays are uniformly excellent.... The book requires too much expertise for undergraduates, but will be required reading for poetry specialists. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”
Choice

“These ambitious and richly varied essays bring a new and vital energy to Victorian poetry studies and literary study more generally. Arguing, on the one hand, for a thoroughly historicized poetics and, on the other, for fresh theoretical attention to prosodic effects, the volume makes a convincing case: meter does indeed matter.”
— Catherine Robson, New York University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821419687
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2011
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason David Hall is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of Seamus Heaney's Rhythmic Contract and editor, with Ashby Bland Crowder, of Seamus Heaney: Poet, Critic, Translator.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction A Great Multiplication of Meters Jason David Hall 1

1 Meter and Meaning Isobel Armstrong 26

2 Romantic Measures Stressing the Sound of Sound Susan J. Wolfson 53

3 Byron's Feet Matthew Bevis 78

4 "Break, Break, Break" into Song Yopie Prins 105

5 Material Patmore Jason R. Rudy 135

6 "For the Inscape's Sake" Sounding the Self in the Meters of Gerard Manley Hopkins Summer J. Star 154

7 "But the Law Must Itself Be Poetic" Swinburne, Omond, and the New Prosody Yisrael Levin 178

8 Popular Ballads Rhythmic Remediations in the Nineteenth Century Michael Cohen 196

9 Blank Verse and the Expansion of England The Meter of Tennyson's Demeter Cornelia Pearsall 217

10 Prosody Wars Meredith Martin 237

Select Bibliography 263

Notes on Contributors 269

Index 273

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