1st Edition

The Rhythms of English Poetry

By Derek Attridge Copyright 1983

    Examines the way in which poetry in English makes use of rhythm. The author argues that there are three major influences which determine the verse-forms used in any language: the natural rhythm of the spoken language itself; the properties of rhythmic form; and the metrical conventions which have grown up within the literary tradition. He investigates these in order to explain the forms of English verse, and to show how rhythm and metre work as an essential part of the reader's experience of poetry.

    PART ONE: Approaches
    1 Traditional Approaches
    2 Linguistic Approaches

    PART TWO: Rhythm
    3 The Rhythms of English Speech
    4 The Four-Beat Rhythm
    5 The Five-Beat Rhythm

    PART THREE: Metre
    6 What is a Metrical Rule?
    7 The Rules of English Metre
    8 Metrical Rules and the Structures of Language

    PART FOUR: Practice
    9 The Functions of Poetic Rhythm
    10 Rhythm at Work: Some examples

    Appendix: Rules and Scansion
    Sources of examples


    Derek Attridge