PROSODY                        

[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]

 

112. ADAMS, PERCY. "Chaucer's Assonance." JEGP 71 (1972):527- 39.

Surveys Chaucer's use of assonance, its effects in his poetry, and possible models for his use of this poetic device. For helpful modifications, see Bruce W. Finnie, "On Chaucer's Stressed Vowel Phonemes," Chaucer Review 3 (1975):337-41.

113. BAUM. PAULL F. Chaucer's Verse. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1961, 145 pp.

Describes Chaucer's meter and prosody and examines passages of his most intense poetic embellishment, exploring his place in poetic tradition. His meter reflects both native English forms and French models, although we can not be certain of the influence of contemporary speech nor sure how his audience "heard" his rhythms. Primarily narrative, his poetry mutes the extravagances of prosody in favor of "naturalness," except in rare cases of enhancement. Yet he commands alliteration easily, and he firmly controls rhyme and a wide range of grammatical and syntactical variation in lines and stanzas.

114. EVERETT, DOROTHY. "Chaucer's Good Ear." Review of English Studies 23 (1947):201-08. Reprinted in Essays on Middle English Literature by Dorothy Everett, ed. by Patricia Kean (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955), pp. 139-48.

Establishes Chaucer's imitative facility with rythym and sound by assessing passages where he uses alliteration to recall heroic and hagiographic verse and examining the "idiosyncracies" of the speech of select characters, particularly the Wife of Bath.

115. FIFIELD, MERLE. Theoretical Techniques for the Analysis of Variety in Chaucer's Metrical Stress. Ball State Monographs, no. 23. Publications in English, no. 17. Muncie, Ind.: Ball State University Press, 1973, 47 pp.

Employs techniques of "objective" linguistic analysis to corroborate traditional assumptions about Chaucer's meter and pronunciation of final-e, applying Trager-Smith analysis of word stress and generative analysis of phrasal stress. Chaucer's syntax normally coincides with an iambic pattern.

116. HALLE, MORRIS, and KEYSER, SAMUEL JAY. "Chaucer and the Study of Prosody." College English 28 (1966):187-219.

Devises a system to analyze Chaucer's stress, built on patterns of contrastive rather than absolute stress. Assumes his basic line to be decasyllabic, and accepts the frequent pronunciation of final -e and French influence on stress.

117. LYNN, KAREN. "Chaucer's Decasyllabic Line: The Myth of the Hundred-Year Hibernation." Chaucer Review 13 (1978):116- 27.

Applies Halle and Keyser's (entry 116) system of metrical analysis, comparing Chaucer with Hoccleve, Lydgate, Dunbar, and Skelton. Tallies the variations between the later poets and Chaucer to help account for their lack of virtuosity.

118. MAYNARD, THEODORE. The Connection between the Ballade, Chaucer's Modification of It, Rime Royal, and the Spenserian Stanza. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University Press, 1934, 139 pp.

Establishes the literary history of the ballade verse form, and assesses Chaucer's use, transformation, and transmission of the form modified as the rhyme royal stanza. Chaucer wrote no strict ballades, but he emulated the form as practiced by Machaut, Froissart, and Deschamps. Influenced by Italian verse, he sophisticated the stanza form, experimenting with caesural variation and applying the stanza to new subjects. Documents the tradition of rhyme royal after Chaucer, noting its confusion with the original ballade, and argues that Chaucer's rhyme royal stanza is the direct ancestor of the Spenserian stanza.

119. OWEN, CHARLES A., Jr. "`Thy Drasty Rhymyng...'." Studies in Philology 63 (1966):533-64.

Studies Chaucer's manipulation of rhyme and rhyme patterns. In various lyrics and short poems, especially Anelida and Arcite, he experiments successfully with patterns built on French models to create "emotional intensity." In Tale of Sir Thopas, he exploits subtleties of parody and form through emphatic rhymes. In the rhyme royal of Troilus and Criseyde, he provides rich dialogue and psychological depth. The couplets of Canterbury Tales reflect his freedom and dexterity with rhyme.

120. ROBINSON, IAN. Chaucer's Prosody: A Study of the Middle English Verse Tradition. London: Cambridge University Press, 1971, 263 pp.

Treats the vexed issues of Chaucer's prosody through sensitive reading and compromise, describing his mature verse-line as "balanced pentameter," a combination of metrical and rhythmic patterns that dominate English verse from Chaucer to Wyatt. Analysis of previous critical assumptions, discussion of fourteeth- and fifteenth-century prosodic traditions, and interpretive readings of sample Chaucerian passages show that such concerns as pronunciation of final-e and variable stress are unimportant. The phrasal rhythms of Chaucer's verse and its rich metrical variation coincide well with manuscript punctuation and encourage unproblematic readings unless distorted by modern prosodic models or editorial practice. Essentially English, the verse of Chaucer shares similarities with Langland's and Gower's, and was imitated with relative success by the fifteenth- century Chaucerians: Hoccleve, Lydgate, Hawes, Skelton, Barclay, and Wyatt.

121. SAMUELS, M.L. "Chaucerian Final `-e'." Notes and Queries 19 (1972):445-48.

Adduces grammatical evidence for the pronunciation of final -e in Chaucer's works, documenting the regularity of pronunciation in patterns that follow Old English usage and responding to specific challenges of Chaucer's decasyllabic line by Southworth (entry 124) and Robinson (entry 120).

122. SOUTHWORTH, JAMES G. "Chaucer: A Plea for A Reliable Text." College English 26 (1964):173-79. Revised in "Chaucer's Prosody: A Plea for a Reliable Text," in Chaucer's Mind and Art, ed. by A.C. Cawley, Essays Old and New, no. 3 (London: Oliver & Boyd, 1969), 86-96.

Argues against assuming that Chaucer's poetry was metrically regular. Iambic scanning of the verse is impossible when scribal punctuation is considered and when final -e is not pronounced. Editions should not make the texts appear metrically regular.

123. SOUTHWORTH, JAMES G. "Chaucer's Final e in Rhyme." PMLA 62 (1947):910-35.

Challenges the traditional assumption that Chaucerian rhymes demand pronunciation of final -e, arguing that elsewhere in Chaucer's lines final -e is inorganic, pronounced only for special poetic effects, and indefensible on the grounds of historical grammar. Final -e should not be pronounced in rhymes. For reply by E. Talbot Donaldson and Southworth's counterreply, see PMLA 63 (1948):1101-24, and 64 (1949):601-609.

124. SOUTHWORTH, JAMES G.Verses of Cadence: An Introduction to the Prosody of Chaucer and his Followers. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1954, 94 pp.

An important challenge to the traditonal theory that Chaucer wrote iambic pentameter, describing the erratic history of the theory, and assessing the evidence of Chaucer's manuscripts. The iambic pentameter "myth" assumes that the single line is Chaucer's basic unit of verse and that final-e should be pronounced. But manuscripts of Chaucer and his followers suggest that his verse depends upon time rather than stress, that he wrote in rhetorical rather than metrical units, and that final -e should be silent. Uses musical notation to record Chaucer's rhythms. Supplementary application of this theory to the poetry of Chaucer and his followers is available in Southworth's Prosody of Chaucer and his Followers (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1962).

125. STANLEY, E.G. "Stanza and Ictus: Chaucer's Emphasis in Troilus and Criseyde." In Chaucer und seine Zeit: Symposion fur Walter F. Shirmir. Edited by Arno Esch. Buchreihe der anglia Zeitschrift fur englische Philologie. Tubingen: Max Niemeyer, 1968, pp. 123-48.

Documents several patterns of repetition, bridging, and emphasis within and among Chaucer's rhyme royal stanzas in Troilus and Criseyde, showing how Chaucer manipulated the stanza. Suggests that the last line of the stanza and the stressed syllable preceding the caesura in that line receive consistent special attention.

126. STANLEY, E.G. "The Use of Bob-Lines in Sir Thopas." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 73 (1972):417-26.

Describes the stanzaic variety produced in Tale of Sir Thopas by the bob-lines, clarifying their metrical effects and the ways manuscript punctuation represents such variety.

127. STEVENS, MARTIN. "The Royal Stanza in Early English Literature." PMLA 94 (1979):62-76.

Traces the history of the name of the "rhyme royal" stanza and its associations with high ceremonial verse in Chaucer's time, challenging its traditional association with James I of Scotland. Surveys Chaucer's use of the stanza, especially in Man of Law's Tale, and justifies the application of the term "prose" to the stanza.

128. SUDO, JAN. "Some Specific Rime-Units in Chaucer." Studies in English Literature 45 (1969):221-36.

Describes the "conventional" rhymes and "specific rime-units" in Chaucer's poetry, documenting his habit of deriving his rhymes from earlier French and English occurence, and his tendency to associate given pairs of words consistently through rhyme, often a proper name and an appropriate attribute or quality.

129. TARLINSKAJA, MARINA G. "Meter and Rhythm of Pre-Chaucerian Rhymed Verse." Linguistics 121 (1974):65-87. Revised slightly as "The Formation of English Syllabo-Tonic Poetry," in English Verse: Theory and History, De Proprietatibus Litteraum, Series Practica, no. 117 (The Hague: Mouton, 1976), pp. 84-99.

Places Chaucer's metrical innovations in the ongoing development of English verse, statistically contrasting his poetry with earlier romances and contemporary practice. Documents the "high precision" of Chaucer's syllabic lines, i.e., "the uniform number of ictuses and the almost complete identity of syllabic intervals with ictuses."

130. WEISS, ALEXANDER. "Chaucer's Early Translations from French: The Art of Creative Transformation." In Literary and Historical Perspectives of the Middle Ages: Proceedings of the 1981 SEMA Meeting. Edited by Patricia W. Cummins and others. Morgantown,: West Virginia University Press, 1982, pp. 174-82.

Examines Chaucer's creative use of enjambment and stress in Romaunt of the Rose and An A.B.C., showing how these translations benefit from his manipulations of sense, sound, and syntax.

See also entries 47, 55, 96, 181, 616, 892. For final -e: 99, 100, 102.

Table of Contents

Previous Section: Language--Lexicon

Next Section: Style and Rhetoric, including Ironic Technique