05_Prose_and_Verse.doc - FROM RHETORIC TO DECONSTRUCTION...

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FROM RHETORIC TO DECONSTRUCTIONLecture Five: Prose and VerseConsider salient points of Lecture Four: Rhythm: regulatesmovement; provides coherence. Yeatsand Eliot: it mediates betweenactualityand eternity. Yeatsand Joyce emphasize the expressivefunction of rhythm.Antecedents in Plato’sThe Republic—Socrates: “grace or the absence of grace is aneffect of good or bad rhythm,” and “beauty of style and harmony and grace and goodrhythm depend on simplicity, [. . .] the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly orderedmind and character.”Woolfon creativity: echoing Yeats and anticipating Eliot, in A Room of One’s Own(1928).Suggestiveness—the suppression of the “I”—the criterion of creativity; a feminine quality,reflected in rhythm. Too much will (too much masculinity) is destructive of creativity—cf.:The fact is that neither Mr Galsworthy nor Mr Kipling has a spark of the woman in him.Thus all their qualities seem to a woman, if one may generalize, crude and immature.They lack suggestive power. And when a book lacks suggestive power, however hard ithits the surface of the mind it cannot penetrate within.But as human beings are androgynous, true creativity is independent of biological gender.*Verse has a special way of creating rhythm, which we call metre. While in prose the basicrhythmical unit is the sentence, in poetry it is the line. Line-endings may be marked by rhyme;a masculinerhyme is a single stressed syllable; a femininerhyme is a stressed syllablefollowed by an unstressed one; the lines below exemplify both:For I at most acceptYour love, regrettingThat is all: I have keptOnly a fretting(Edward Thomas, “No One So Much As You”)These lines are run-onlines (enjambements) as the syntactic unit they embody is completedonly in the next line. Lines in most poetry are end-stopped, that is, a syntactical unit iscompleted and there is a natural pause in the reading at the end of the line.NB.: Establishing the full metrical pattern of a poem may require the analysis of units largerthan the line, such as the stanza—a group of lines with specific line-lengths and rhymes(couplet, tercet or triplet, quatrain, sestet, rime royal, ottava rima, Spenserian stanza, etc.)—and, in non-stanzaic verse, the verse paragraph

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