Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lotman, Avva, Language Hat: On free verse

LH is quoting a Live Journal article article :

"What was in the air in the 20th century to make free verse so attractive to authors and readers that was not in the air in, for example, the 19th? I have found nothing but generalities on this subject. "

And this links to this article in Live Journal:

"In the 19th century rhyming was considered a hall-mark of poetry. Novadays this artful aid is less appreciated in Europe, with the major exception of Russia, where poets are supposed to rhyme well to be worthy of their prophetic status. That is only fair because Russia is five centuries behind Europe in introduction of rhyme; it is still a relatively new toy. Others are more used to it and less smitten with it. Why should we rhyme at all? Rhyme is absent in the Bible and in the poetry of the classical period (the lines rhyme only occasionally, rather than by intent). The Greeks knew rhyme, but as a device for rhetorics rather than poetry. Milton castigated rhyme as the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter. Dryden wrote disapprovingly that when, by inundation of the Goths and Vandals into Italy, new languages were brought in, and barbarously mingled with the Latin... a new way of poesy was practiced. In fact, rhyme is even more recent, at least in Europe. Before the 12th century, only the Irish rhymed, for reasons unknown..."

Why isn't anybody quoting Lotman yet, especially on the LJ?

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