[Milton-L] Milton's blank verse: stresses and sources

J. Michael Gillum mgillum at ret.unca.edu
Fri Oct 18 14:07:50 EDT 2013

Eric, thanks for the news. Every academic library should hold Attridge's
works on versification.

I believe that Attridge, in *The Rhythms of English Poetry* (1982),
provided the first satisfactory account of English metrics ever. It is
based on both a literary person's ear for the sounds of verse and a
linguist's understanding of the sound-patterns of natural language, and
especially the nature of stress. Incidentally, the linguistic concepts
Attridge uses have not been superceded by further developments in
professional linguistics, so far as I can tell.

For better or worse, in this book Attridge was determined to make a fresh
start and develop a new vocabulary and notation to describe an inclusive
theory of the English meters. This makes his work difficult of access.
There is the larger problem of paradigm shock for those who have
assimilated one of the older theories of meter.

On Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM, Erick Ramalho <ramalhoerick at yahoo.co.uk>wrote:

> Some of the topics in this thread are finely dealt with in Derek
> Attridge’s new book: ‘Moving Words. Forms of English poetry’. It has just
> come out and deals with various thought-provoking lines, including some by
> Milton and some by Borrowing, and also with enjambment (or ‘run-on’, as
> Attridge prefers naming it). I have just finished reading my pre-ordered
> copy. As I read it, Michael Gillum’s worthy contribution to the topics of
> prosody and metre in the list kept coming to my mind, since he often
> mentions Attridge, as well as John Creaser’s fine reading of PL in
> connection with Attridge’s approach to metre (another study Gillum often,
> and rightly, recalls). Particularly chapter 3 of Attridge's book, though it
> contrasts English and French (rather than Italian) dramatic verse, is
> illuminatingly relevant to some of the topics mentioned in the thread.
> Regards,
> Erick Ramalho
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