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The nature and significance of rhythm in the poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt: (with transcripts of two principal manuscripts)

Southall, R. (1961)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

The contention of the essay which follows is that the presumption that Wyatt's rhythm can be judged by standards which are impervious to the actual performance of his poetry, to the actual affects achieved and the 'meanings' thereby imparted, leads ineluctably to the rejection of Wyatt's poetry by prosodists and that the rejection of that presumption leads as rigourously to the conclusion that prosody (as that term is widely understood) has no role to play in the assessment of Wyatt's poetry.
Evidence in favour of this conclusion is provided by the slight and previously unacknowledged testimony of the punctuation of two principal Wyatt manuscripts (transcripts of which are provided in vols. 2 and 3) and slightly reinforced by attention to the phrasal rhyme-scheme of some of the poems. The evidence is considered suggestive rather than conclusive, but by following through the suggestion of a non-quantitative rhythmical principle an attempt is made to show that in Wyatt's poetry there is a creative and dramatic significance indicative of a pervasive though limited set of preoccupations - metaphysical, political and psychological - within the poems.
In conclusion it is maintained that, although no final placing of Wyatt can rest purely upon his rhythmical accomplishment, the approach to Wyatt's rhythm which has been proposed is important in that it reveals a presence of such basic and important preoccupations in the poems and these, set within but transforming the conventions of amour courtois, are finally adduced to establish Wyatt's place in relation to the sixteenth century.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
School/Faculty:Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
Department:Shakespeare Institute
Subjects:PN0441 Literary History
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3144
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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