by Naomi Levine
University of Chicago Press, 2024
Paper: 978-0-226-83497-9 | Cloth: 978-0-226-83496-2 | eISBN: 978-0-226-83498-6
Library of Congress Classification PR591.L48 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 821.809

A major new account of Victorian poetry and its place in the field of literary studies.

The Burden of Rhyme shows how the nineteenth-century search for the origin of rhyme shaped the theory and practice of poetry. For Victorians, rhyme was not (as it was for the New Critics, and as it still is for us) a mere technique or ahistorical form. Instead, it carried vivid historical fantasies derived from early studies of world literature. Naomi Levine argues that rhyme’s association with the advent of literary modernity and with a repertoire of medievalist, Italophilic, and orientalist myths about love, loss, and poetic longing made it a sensitive historiographic instrument. Victorian poets used rhyme to theorize both literary history and the most elusive effects of aesthetic form. This Victorian formalism, which insisted on the significance of origins, was a precursor to and a challenge for twentieth-century methods. In uncovering the rich relationship between Victorian poetic forms and a forgotten style of literary-historical thought, The Burden of Rhyme reveals the unacknowledged influence of Victorian poetics—and its repudiation—on the development of modern literary criticism.

See other books on: Burden | English poetry | Formalism | Rhyme | Victorian Poetry
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