New Accents: Language and Style by E. L. Epstein

By E. L. Epstein

First released in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Extra resources for New Accents: Language and Style

Example text

In the Ajax lines of Pope, there are indeed syllables that contain either double or triple consonant clusters or complex nuclei, or both: the two syllables of 'Ajax' (however pronounced), 'strives', 'Rock's', 'vast', 'Weight', 'throw', 'Line', 'too', both syllables of 'labours', 'and', 'Words', 'move', 'slow'. This makes a total of fifteen out of twenty syllables, or almost as high an average as the Ben Jonson lines. It is also higher than the average for Pope's 'neutral' lines, as, for example, in lines 1-91 of An Essay, where an average line contains no more than two or three consonant clusters and three complex nuclei.

Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath, And after many a summer dies the swan. Me only cruel immortality Consumes; I wither slowly in thine arms, Here at the quiet limit of the world, A white-haired shadow, roaming like a dream, The ever-silent spaces of the East, Far-folded mists and gleaming halls of morn. There seems to be little echoing of content here, except perhaps in the sixth and seventh lines, and in 'fall' and 'burthen'. On the contrary, the vowel patterning seems to operate on its own, and even tends to de-emphasize the specific message.

To see how such a double focus is possible, we should examine our ways of interpreting the evidence of our senses - our public and private strategies of perception. 3 PLAYING THE LITERATURE GAME: A PUBLIC AND COLLECTIVE NORM Public andprivate games As I have suggested above, tennis is a 'style' of human motion, a n d is distinguished from general motion by its own rules. However, there are also individually 'stylish' players. The same is true of literature. It is distinguished from general vocal or written expression by those ways of operating or of being regarded that are peculiar to the literary game.

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