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История литературы / 6. Old English tradition of poetic diction

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In different literatures poetic form is achieved in various ways; usually, however, a definite and predictable pattern is evident in the language. A patterned arrangement of lines into a group is called a stanza. Rhyme is an important element in stanzaic structure. Old English poetry is based upon one system of verse construction, which was used for all poems. Types of versification (features of the verse): alliteration (the repetition of stressed sounds, particularly consonants from the beginning of words or syllables. Poetically, alliteration can has a similar function as rhyme. E.g. Caedmon the hymn, holy rood. ); the absence of connecting particles; expressive language means (tropes); abrupt lines, more like interjections, e.g. Cynewulf the dream of the rood; periphrasis, allegory (peter the plowman); repetition + paraphrase (repetition of the same idea to avoid monotony); melodic nature; rhymes (not always, about 14th century the owl and the nightingals for the 1st time); symmetrical structure ; a line consists of 2 half-lines, distiches (двустишие `distik) with a pause or caesura in the middle of the line, each half-line has 2 accented syllables, compounding (the combining of two words to make a new word to meet the needs of the alliterative meter, e.g. wavebreaker =the ship), kennings (a special form of compounding that are metaphoric in meaning: "bone-house," refers to the human body; "whale's road," refers to the sea; and rodores candel, literally "sky's candle," refers to the sun, Beowulf – a bear, a whale road-sea), formulas (ready-made phrases which fulfill the metrical needs of a line or half-line, and are believed to be a standard tool of an oral poet), variation (the restatement of a concept or term using different words. It is not used as filler, but fulfills a few important functions. On a practical level, as we cannot just stop and check a fact during an oral performance as we can while reading, variation reminds the audience of important facts. Variation also allows the poet to present an event, or image from multiple perspectives, each providing additional information or shedding new light on the events), versification (OE alliterative verse uses an accentual meter of four stressed beats and an undetermined number of unstressed beats per line. A typical Old English alliterative line consists of two half-lines separated by a strong pause known as a caesura. The third stress of a line always alliterates with either the first and/or the second stress, and the fourth stress never alliterates. In Old English alliterative verse, any vowel can alliterate with any other vowel).