By way of introduction, the issue of a poem’s mode of existence is raised, and the centrality of the listener’s or reader’s experience is emphasized. Some of the difficulties of writing a history of that experience from archaic Greece to the English Renaissance are discussed: one of these is the paucity of evidence and the consequent debates among scholars; another is the porousness of the boundaries between poetry and drama, on the one hand, and poetry and music, on the other. Although verse was valued for a number of different qualities and effects throughout this period, its function as poetry is inseparable from its power to provide pleasure.
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.