Summer 1956 • Vol. XVIII No. 3 English Verse and What It Sounds Like |

The Strange Music of English Verse

It is strange that a generation of critics so sensitive and ingenious as ours should have turned out very backward, indeed phlegmatic, when it comes to hearing the music of poetry, or at least, to avoid misunderstanding, to hearing its meters. The only way to escape the sense of a public scandal is to assume that the authority of the meters is passing, or is past, because we have become jaded by the meters; which would mean that something else must be tried. We cannot tell about that. If it is true, I should imagine that something just as good as the meters is to come into the poetry of the future, and probably something very like the meters. But that is not exactly our topic. The old poetry is still vivid with us, and it is metered. In the present series of papers the meters are our topic. Two of the participants are trained in the modern science of linguistic, and they have in mind a fresh view of English meter; they are Mr. Whitehall and Mr. Chatman. The other two are Mr. Ste

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