By Richard Bradford
This introductory booklet takes the reader via literary historical past from the Renaissance to Postmodernism, and considers person texts as paradigms which may either mirror and unsettle their broader linguistic and cultural contexts. Richard Bradford offers exact readings of person texts which emphasize their relation to literary heritage and broader socio-cultural contexts, and which take into consideration advancements in structuralism and postmodernism. Texts comprise poems via Donne, Herbert, Marvell, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Hopkins, Browning, Pound, Eliot, Carlos Williams, Auden, Larkin and Geoffrey Hill.
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Additional resources for A Linguistic History of English Poetry (Interface)
In effect both, and to account for this we should call upon the sliding scale. Consider again the case of the sonnet and free verse. Free verse must be regarded as the final episode in a long running conflict between poets and the prescribed langue of poetic conventions. Most of the early free versifiers offered a challenge both to themselves and their readers by presenting texts which did not correspond with the then accepted definition of poetry. But less than a century later the works of Pound, Williams and Eliot rest easily in the same anthologies and on the same ‘Poetry’ book-shelves as the works of Pope and Wordsworth.
When we analyse and document different linguistic formulae we run the risk of not paying sufficient attention to the elements that actually prompt and determine the structure of each utterance. In more recent debates on linguistics, Michael Halliday (1973, 1978) has taken against the transformational-generative systems of Chomsky and others and argued that what is intrinsic to a particular sentence or broader textual parole can never remain immune from its immediate or social and political context.
The two basic phenomena that will allow us to identify and then to judge the relation between the two are the sentence (cognitive) and the line (conventional). At one end of the scale we will find forms such as the sonnet which involve a thickening and a foregrounding of the purely conventional features of poetry to the extent that form can never remain immune from meaning. At the other we will encounter forms such as free verse where in some cases the lines of the poem correspond neither to an abstract metrical formula nor to a particular pattern of conventions operating within the poem itself.