By Professor Henry Weinfield
Clean verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter, has been imperative to English poetry because the Renaissance. it's the easy motor vehicle of Shakespeare's performs and the shape within which Milton selected to put in writing Paradise misplaced. Milton linked it with freedom, and the Romantics, connecting it in flip with freethinking, used it to discover swap and confront modernity, occasionally in all of sudden radical methods. Henry Weinfield's certain readings of the masterpieces of English clean verse concentrate on Milton, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson and Stevens. He strains the philosophical and mental struggles underlying those poets' number of shape and style, and the level to which their paintings is marked, consciously or now not, via the impression of alternative poets. strangely attuned to echoes among poems, this learn sheds new gentle on how vital poetic texts, so much of that are crucial to the literary canon, spread as artistic endeavors
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Extra info for The blank-verse tradition from Milton to Stevens : freethinking and the crisis of modernity
39 Yet the irony is that in 1798, in “Tintern Abbey,” Wordsworth had already confronted and, to my mind, successfully resolved the philosophical/religious problem that he is still wrestling with, but in a way that bears very little fruit, in The Excursion. If the “Prospectus” represents Wordsworth’s program for poetry, as Abrams said, then “Tintern Abbey” may be said to contain his program for life, his solution to the problem of how to live in a context devoid of metaphysical certainty. Wordsworth’s solution in “Tintern Abbey” (as I shall suggest in Chapter 4) is not merely a Romantic response to an age-old problem, but one that continues to have a purchase on us.
And finally Stevens, in his blank-verse lyric, “Anatomy of Monotony” (the one poem investigated in this study that is not altogether canonical), negotiates a path to Modernism and to a twentieth-century vision of immanence by embracing Mallarmé as well as Wordsworth. All of these poems struggle to find solid ground in the face of contradiction and uncertainty. From within the confines of the blank-verse spaces they inhabit, spaces in which the lyric impulse encounters the opposing impulse toward narrative or philosophical discourse, they manage, in the words of Stevens, to strike the “implacable chords,”41 and so to fulfill themselves as poetry.
In 40 William Butler Yeats, “The Philosophy of Shelley’s Poetry,” in Essays and Introductions (New York: Collier, 1968), 65–95 (77). 41 Wallace Stevens, Collected Poetry and Prose, ed. Frank Kermode and Joan Richardson (New York: Library of America, 1997), 90. Introduction 21 each of the following chapters, I focus on a single blank-verse poem (or, in the case of Paradise Lost and The Prelude, a section of a long poem) and try to show how it unfolds as a work of art (or, in the case of Keats’ fragmentary Hyperion poems, what blocks it from being completed).
The blank-verse tradition from Milton to Stevens : freethinking and the crisis of modernity by Professor Henry Weinfield