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Title: Shakespeare's defence of verse
Author: Stagg, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 1752
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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‘I heard a fair lady sigh: “I wish someone would write a good treatise on prosody”’ (Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading (1934)). This thesis is about Shakespeare’s prosody, and it tries to be good. The first section is composed of four chapters, each of which examines one of the four metrical traditions available to early modern writers (quantitative prosody in Chapter 1, rhyming verse in Chapter 2, syllabic prosody in Chapter 3 and accentual prosody in Chapter 4) and what Shakespeare may have brought or wrought from it. It evokes how many of the things we have valued in Shakespeare – the sophistication of onstage action (Chapter 1), the wild sequences of language (Chapter 2), the verisimilar worlds of the plays (Chapter 3), the unusually ‘deep’ characters (Chapter 4) – have origins in his handling of metre and rhythm. The second part of the thesis considers how Shakespeare uneasily binds these four prosodic inheritances, and what they gave him, into a new blank verse (Chapter 5) which frequently risks something like free verse (Chapter 6). In doing all of this, it hopes to uncover Shakespeare’s ‘defence of verse’ – the treatise he never wrote.
Supervisor: King, Ros ; Davies, Laura Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available