Spring 1953 • Vol. XV No. 2 Nonfiction |

Structures of Sound in Milton’s Verse¹

I now turn to some problems in Milton's management of structures of sound, and by this phrase, instead of some version of the more familiar "Miltonic music," I intend to indicate my attitude. To the student of contemporary criticism the most unexpected, and even radical, remark in Mr. Eliot's later essay on Milton ought to be the last phrase of the following: The emphasis is on the sound, not the vision, upon the word, not the idea; and in the end it is the unique versification that is the most certain sign of Milton's intellectual mastership. Mr. F. R. Leavis is left quite bewildered, and small wonder; for to him response to the Miltonic music "is a relaxation of attentiveness to sense." And indeed the whole practice of most of the best of modern criticism, under the joint influence of T. S. Eliot and I. A. Richards, has been solidly on the side of sense in poetry. Versification has been largely taken for granted by critics, with the notable exceptions of Yvor Winters and

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

A Note on Meter

By Arnold Stein

I now turn to some problems in Milton's management of structures of sound, and by this phrase, instead of some version of the more familiar "Miltonic music," I intend to […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.