By Richard Bradford

ISBN-10: 0415070589

ISBN-13: 9780415070584

This introductory ebook takes the reader via literary historical past from the Renaissance to Postmodernism, and considers person texts as paradigms which may either mirror and unsettle their broader linguistic and cultural contexts. Richard Bradford offers precise readings of person texts which emphasize their relation to literary heritage and broader socio-cultural contexts, and which keep in mind advancements in structuralism and postmodernism. Texts contain poems by means of Donne, Herbert, Marvell, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Hopkins, Browning, Pound, Eliot, Carlos Williams, Auden, Larkin and Geoffrey Hill.

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Extra info for A Linguistic History of English Poetry (Interface)

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In the blank verse sequences we might regard each speech act as the dramatic counterpart to an isolated non-dramatic lyric, in the sense that we must attend both to the known and inferred circumstances in which the utterance takes place and to the rules and conventions of verse that each statement shares with others. In the prose sequences our attention will shift toward the non-textual circumstances that determine each statement and away from their intrinsic formal and stylistic characteristics.

In two seminal essays (1975, 1977) Kiparsky adapted the techniques of transformational-generative syntax to account for the metrical structure of the line. To offer a very crude definition, transformational-generative syntax is employed to establish what is universal to all linguistic statements (the system-event model at its most specific and practical). We can start by identifying the abstract formula of NP and VP as the basic phrase structure of the sentence and go on to examine how different statements are generated from this structure.

In other words the speaker’s use of the selective axis allows him to project into the contiguity axis of circumstance a wildly speculative, poetic pattern of causes and effects. It would be wrong to base a general judgement upon a single comparison, but it will be seen in the following extracts that in the blank verse sequences the speaker attempts to situate his/her problem within a broader framework of images and concepts (the paradigmatic chain projected on to the syntagmatic and the effect foregrounded by the metrical pattern) while in the prose sequences structure will become a function of context and contingency (the progressive order of the syntagm will dominate the individual’s use of both axes): the opening exchanges between Angelo and the Duke on the future of the city (I i, 4–84, blank verse) and the Duke’s encounter with Lucio (III ii, 46–204, prose); the exchange between Claudio and Isabella on his fate and her decision (III i, 52–146, blank verse) and the Duke’s suggestion to Isabella of a blackmail solution (III i, 181–283, prose).

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A Linguistic History of English Poetry (Interface) by Richard Bradford


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