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Home :: Archive :: 2014 :: January ::
Scanning Shakespeare's Verse

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.048  Friday, 24 January 2014

 

[1] From:        Ros Barber < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 23, 2014 at 10:19:01 AM EST

     Subject:    Re: Scanning Shakespeare's Verse 

 

[2] From:        Kurt Daw < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 23, 2014 at 4:03:25 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Scanning Shakespeare's Verse 

 

[3] From:        Gregory Woodruff < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 23, 2014 at 10:22:19 PM EST

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER; Scanning Shakespeare's Verse 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Ros Barber < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 23, 2014 at 10:19:01 AM EST

Subject:    Re: Scanning Shakespeare's Verse

 

Conrad Geller is correct: there are more than two levels of stress, but traditional scansion only acknowledges two.  

 

Larry Weiss is also correct: rhythm is not the same as meter, and a beat has no effect on the scansion. (Although a small correction: a syllable and a metrical foot are not the same thing. A metrical foot is a pattern of two or three syllables. Perhaps ‘as’ was intended as ‘in’?)

 

Peter Groves: I appreciate that you have invented an incredibly brilliant and complex method of scansion that acknowledges the beautiful subtleties of the English language with its (up to 4) stress levels. However, I find from teaching traditional scansion to mere mortals that they find two-stress scansion quite taxing enough. Reading something ‘more recent and more scholarly’ wouldn’t really help.  Delicious for analysis, I’m sure, but not a tool that Shakespeare, or any other working poet, would have any use for. We are simple creatures. We work in ‘de DUM’. With the occasional ‘de de DUM’. Actually, we’re much more interested in what the words actually mean.

 

Ros Barber

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Kurt Daw < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 23, 2014 at 4:03:25 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Scanning Shakespeare's Verse

 

>Identifying the extra syllable and its accompanying pause as a 

>metrical foot with a stressed silent syllable seems bizarre when

>describing meter but would sound to the ear exactly the same 

>as the more widely accepted description, right?

“Maybe. I think the debate over whether a beat, as opposed to a syllable, can be counted as a metrical foot illustrates why rhythm is not the same as meter. A beat has no effect on the scansion; otherwise, the meter of any line varies with how the actor delivers it. But it strongly affects how the line sounds and, of course, how it is understood.”

 

I am sorry to be so dense, but I am not sure what you are correcting about my post. I thought I said that the description in question was accurate only in terms of sound, and not technically accurate about the meter. Is there some other level of distinction I am missing?

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Gregory Woodruff < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 23, 2014 at 10:22:19 PM EST

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER; Scanning Shakespeare's Verse

 

Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the US, has helpful ideas about stress. It goes something like this: there is always a greater and lesser stress in each foot, but some “greater” stresses are less than a neighboring foot’s “lesser” beat, thus one can hear three, or four, levels of stress, but they always occur in pairs. (He even argues that English doesn’t really have anapest and other three pulsed feet.)

 

See his “The Sounds of Poetry.”

 

Greg Woodruff

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