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Fulke Greville and the Culture of the English Renaissance$
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Russ Leo, Katrin Röder, and Freya Sierhuis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198823445

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198823445.001.0001

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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: 31 July 2021

Philosophical Poetry

Philosophical Poetry

Greville and the Feminine Ending

(p.29) 2 Philosophical Poetry
Fulke Greville and the Culture of the English Renaissance

Brian Cummings

Oxford University Press

Fulke Greville is well known as the author of philosophical treatises in verse, but what does it mean to be a philosophical poet? This chapter considers the idea of philosophical poetry in Greville, not by assessing philosophical ideas in his poetry, but by understanding how poetry for him is a specific and creative way of doing philosophy. To do this, the chapter considers the unusual metrical device of the ‘feminine ending’, usually defined as a line with a hypermetric extra foot. Sidney theorizes about this as well as practising it, and several Elizabethan poets, including Shakespeare as well as Greville, specialize in it. The chapter concludes by discussing how the ‘feminine ending’ is associated especially with expressing mental doubt, qualification, or scepticism.

Keywords:   Greville, Fulke, Sidney, Philip, Shakespeare, sonnet, philosophy, metre, poetics

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