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The Rise and Fall of MeterPoetry and English National Culture, 1860--1930$
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Meredith Martin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152738

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152738.001.0001

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The Institution of Meter

The Institution of Meter

(p.79) 3 The Institution of Meter
The Rise and Fall of Meter

Meredith Martin

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of metrical mastery, outlining the way that Robert Bridges's intervention in his best-selling treatise Milton's Prosody expanded and popularized the theories that he and Gerard Manley Hopkins discussed together. It shows how Bridges and his influential competitor, George Saintsbury, were jostling for position during the height of the prosody wars between 1900 and 1910, and how their successes and failures characterize much of our contemporary thinking about early twentieth-century prosody. Author of the three-volume History of English Prosody (1906–10), Saintsbury was a prime mover in both the foundation of English literary study and the institutionalization of the “foot” as the primary measure of English poetry. Infused with Edwardian-era military rhetoric, Sainstbury's foot marched to a particularly English rhythm, which he traced through the ages with wit and martial vigor.

Keywords:   metrical mastery, Robert Bridges, Milton's Prosody, Gerard Manley Hopkins, English meter, George Saintsbury, prosody, English poetry

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