Studies in the Language and Metre of Modern Stressed Verse

Ahmed, Ahmed Salah El-Din Abdul-Hamid (1988) Studies in the Language and Metre of Modern Stressed Verse. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

It is possible to establish that the lowest unit in modern verse written in stressed metre is the half-line of two, or more exceptionally three, stresses, and that a majority of these half-lines are grammatically and/or semantically self-contained. This unit provides a useful tool, firstly for defining more closely the nature of stressed verse, and secondly for detailed comparison of different works. The corpus chosen for analysis consists mainly of works by T.S. Eliot (Four Quartets, Murder in the Cathedral, The Family Reunion, and The Elder Statesman), but Auden's The Age of Anxiety and Murphy's The Cleggan Disaster are also included, and finally there is an experiment in historical comparison with samples from Piers Plowman and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. All the half-lines of the corpus are subjected to metrical analysis, the results of which are presented in Volume II (Appendix A). This forms the basis of the detailed classification of metre in Volume I, which also contains a grammatical classification of all the half-lines that can be defined as self-contained, and then a comparison of the metre and grammar of the half-line with special reference to line length, anacrusis, and rising rhythm. The results of the thesis are to show that certain features of stressed verse are likely to be linguistically conditioned, e.g. the grammatical types used in the half-line, and their normal length in syllables, whereas other features like rising rhythm and three-stress half-lines are more probably stylistically conditioned. Such stylistic effects are especially noticeable in The Cleggan Disaster, Murder in the Cathedral, and Four Quartets. Middle English alliterative verse, in both linguistic and stylistic conditioning, seems to be remarkably similar to Modern English stressed verse.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Modern literature, Comparative literature
Date of Award: 1988
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1988-77780
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 11:53
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 11:53
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/77780

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