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Moving Words: Forms of English Poetry$
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Derek Attridge

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199681242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199681242.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 11 May 2021

An Enduring Form

An Enduring Form

The English Dolnik

(p.147) 7 An Enduring Form
Moving Words: Forms of English Poetry

Derek Attridge

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the long history of a rhythmic form whose separate identity has not been fully acknowledged. The staple form of popular verse in English and a number of other languages, it is produced by a doubling process that results in four groups of four beats, or combinations of this pattern. Following the suggestion of some commentators on Russian verse, the name dolnik is proposed for this form. Examples are discussed from the thirteenth century to the present, showing how poets in all periods have found ways of creatively using the form. Beat prosody, it is argued, is best suited to demonstrating the distinctiveness of the form, whereas traditional approaches have disguised its singularity and effectiveness.

Keywords:   beat, dolnik, prosody, poetry, ballad

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