This introductory chapter briefly discusses the history of verse recitation and poetry memorization in Great Britain and the United States and how their societies have come to perceive such practices, as well as the role poetry plays within both the British and American imaginary. It also provides an overview of the case studies to be undertaken in this volume, and the ways in which they will be approached for study. In addition, the chapter goes on to embark on brief explorations of the felt, internal aspects of memorized poetry in British and American society. These, as the chapter attempts to show, combine to tell a story that both augments and to an extent challenges the arguments put forward elsewhere in this book.
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