“[T]he bonds of verse”: Form as Discipline
In the later nineteenth century formal regularity was regarded as the hallmark of mathematical and scientific inquiry as well as the burgeoning “social sciences” and the arts—all presumed to be governed by formal “laws.” But insofar as formal regularity was seen to characterize natural and civil law, it allowed for an equivocation between them, such that formal laws might be understood to be not an abstraction from but an imposition on content. Thus conceived, form and content could actually be at odds, and this would have important implications for the arts. In the context of linguistic and literary study, the structures of languages and literatures were often allied with formal law while individual words were perceived as rich in meaning but wayward. Max Müller’s philology, Coventry Patmore’s prosody and poetry, and Christina Rossetti’s poetry all present form and content as being in tension, locked in a struggle for domination.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.