An analysis of the poetic line in Milton that considers the resources made available to the poet by lineation, and how Milton explored and exploited them more resourcefully than any other English poet.
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This book will change how readers read not only Milton but any poetry. Whereas prose is written in sentences, poetry is written in lines, lines that may or may not coincide with the syntax of the sentence. Lines add an aural and visual mode of punctuation, with some degree of pause and weight at the line-turn. So lineation, the division of poetry into lines, opens a repertoire of possibilities to the poet. Notably, it encourages an enhanced concentration on meaning,
rhythm, and sound. It makes metrical patterns possible, with interactions between regularity and deviation; or it makes possible the presence or absence of structural rhyme; or the multiple variations of the line-turn, whether in harmony with syntax or overflowing, in ways that may be either more or
Starting from theories of Derek Attridge, this book develops new methods for exploring the expressive resources of the verse line as exploited by the greatest of English poets, John Milton. Topics examined include: the interaction of strictness and freedom in the rhythms of Milton's line and paragraph; the interfusion of diverse prosodies in a single poem; approaches to free verse; rhyme in the earlier lyric verse and modes of near-rhyme in the later blank verse; the diverse modes of
onomatopoeia; and the complex interweavings of prosody and ideology in this very political poet. The great themes and issues and characters of Milton's innovative and always controversial poetry are perceived afresh, being approached intimately through the rich possibilities of the line, and the insights of
the approach illuminate the reading of any poetry.