Polymetrical Dissonance: Tennyson, A. Mary F. Robinson, and Classical Meter

Polymetrical Dissonance: Tennyson, A. Mary F. Robinson, and Classical Meter Ben GlAseR hat did A. Mary F. Robinson learn from her work as a translator of Greek, Greek meter, and from her study of classical prosody more generally? What expressive possibilities did she garner from the study of a language whose prosody bears little to no resemblance to english, and whose adoption threatens to become less boon than boondoggle? What she learns, I will argue, is the power of irregularity and dissonance, of an english prosody which diverges from english metrical tradition and yet somehow remains rhythmically forceful. But beyond the technical achievement of her metrical translations, Robinson finds in her complex new prosodic technique a means of interrogating both her aesthetic and personal relationship to the world. Robinson's re-tuning of english meter, ordered in particular through Greek choral meters and latin hendecasyllabics, diverges sharply from then contemporary accounts of both meter's form and its function. This essay will show how Robinson discovers the linguistic possibility of creating a form of metrical strain by importing classical schemes and bringing them into contact with traditional iambic meters; it shows, furthermore, how this strain is anticipated (sometimes nervously) by contemporary prosodists like Coventry Patmore and John Addington symonds. The possibility http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Polymetrical Dissonance: Tennyson, A. Mary F. Robinson, and Classical Meter

Victorian Poetry, Volume 49 (2) – Jun 9, 2011

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
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Copyright © West Virginia University Press
ISSN
1530-7190
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Abstract

Ben GlAseR hat did A. Mary F. Robinson learn from her work as a translator of Greek, Greek meter, and from her study of classical prosody more generally? What expressive possibilities did she garner from the study of a language whose prosody bears little to no resemblance to english, and whose adoption threatens to become less boon than boondoggle? What she learns, I will argue, is the power of irregularity and dissonance, of an english prosody which diverges from english metrical tradition and yet somehow remains rhythmically forceful. But beyond the technical achievement of her metrical translations, Robinson finds in her complex new prosodic technique a means of interrogating both her aesthetic and personal relationship to the world. Robinson's re-tuning of english meter, ordered in particular through Greek choral meters and latin hendecasyllabics, diverges sharply from then contemporary accounts of both meter's form and its function. This essay will show how Robinson discovers the linguistic possibility of creating a form of metrical strain by importing classical schemes and bringing them into contact with traditional iambic meters; it shows, furthermore, how this strain is anticipated (sometimes nervously) by contemporary prosodists like Coventry Patmore and John Addington symonds. The possibility

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jun 9, 2011

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