Abstract

In his 1858 poem "The Defence of Guenevere," William Morris makes canny use of terza rima—an intricate Dantean verse pattern whose symbolic value was secularized and eroticized by such nineteenth-century practitioners as Byron and Browning. In the wake of this poetic tradition, Morris exploits the unique potential of triple rhyme to represent the conditions of adultery. His rhyme scheme does narrative work at both micro and macro levels: the three-line stanza emblematizes the asymmetries of adulterous desire, while the patterning of rhymes across stanzas restores a fluid kind of balance to the relationships at stake. Ultimately, Morris's rhymes offer a crucial gloss on the poem that they shape.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2052
Print ISSN
0042-5222
Pages
pp. 506-517
Launched on MUSE
2011-08-27
Open Access
No
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