restricted access Augustan Measures. Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Writings on Prosody and Metre by Richard Bradford (review)
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200 which she so well recognizes and deconstructs in the approaches taken by others, namely the ‘‘ideology of ethics’’inherent in ‘‘the party of humanity.’’ Her arguments about the power of the aesthetic therefore serve only to mystify and legitimate the current ideological status quo. William J. Burling Southwest Missouri State University RICHARD BRADFORD. Augustan Measures . Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Writings on Prosody and Metre. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2002. Pp. viii ⫹ 247. $79.95. Mr. Bradford’s ambition to correct the deficiencies of Paul Fussell’s Theory of Prosody in Eighteenth-Century England (1954) produces a curiously retro monograph . The deficiencies are ones that Fussell himself points out: a discussion of ‘‘(1) the controversy over the nature of accent and quantity; (2) the eighteenthcentury theory of the nature of rhyme; (3) the theory of line integrity; and (4) the theory of the caesura.’’ Mr. Bradford thinks that these ‘‘four topics’’ should have been Fussell’s interest in the first place. In any case, Mr. Bradford is tempted to imitate the rusted generalities of second-rate literary history: ‘‘Milton, and after him Blake and Wordsworth, deliberately create tensions between the formal component of verse, the line, and the more contingent component, syntax or meaning. In the process both elements are intensified in a way which the poetry and criticism of the intervening hundred years could not comprehend.’’ One person who directly contradicts this is none other than Mr. Bradford himself in his Silence and Sound (reviewed in The Scriblerian , 26, Autumn 1993). Otherwise his present study accepts many things from the earlier one. He still takes no notice of issues of race, class, and gender— but he does recycle. A lot of the recycling involves Paradise Lost. Mr. Bradford continues to assume that the poem itself is a theory of prosody, but he finds it hard to extend this principle to the practice of versification in the eighteenth century. His attention to Pope is perfunctory; Waller, Dryden, and Prior do not rate even that effort, while Swift and Gay disappear—along with all of the women poets, perhaps the most radical retro-ism of the monograph. The canceling out of poets and certain poems also cancels out views and information different from Mr. Bradford’s own. By relying on the trite convenience of ‘‘the ‘graveyard’ school of Blair, Gray, and Young,’’ he shuns the obstreperous Gray and modern comment on his versification , and in another episode of historical amnesia removes Goldsmith as well as Collins and Smart. Johnson says naughty things about Milton’s blank verse—it was ‘‘verse only to the eye’’—for which Mr. Bradford is eager to scold him over and over, while dodging the inconvenient fact that Johnson sometimes wrote in blank verse. Readers who do not know much about eighteenth-century poetry, let alone prosody itself, might comeaway assured that there is not much to know. Of course, there really were experiments in metrical variation, even freeverse.Pastoral and the ode attracted the display of individual talent in metrical art. But no matter; one poem here serves the intolerance of an aesthetic fundamentalism, and Mr. Bradford revisits from Silence and Sound pet examples of Milton’s enjambment with undue veneration. Milton is drafted to humble Thomson, Young, and (most easily of all) Dodsley. Actually Mr. Bradford reorganizes the 201 eighteenth-centurycriticismfromSilence and Sound into the kind of old success story that used to be told about the ‘‘Triumph of Romanticism.’’ Its emphasis is the history of the analysis of Milton’s blank verse; Sheridan’s Art of Reading (1775) is ‘‘the finest work of prosodic criticism in the eighteenth century’’ because of his ‘‘discovery’’ of adding a ‘‘pause of suspension’’or momentaryrest of thevoiceatanenjambedline.Thistime around Mr. Bradford also reads into it the intuition by Sheridan of a ‘‘metrical contract ’’ between Milton and the reader of how to perform the line endings, something Mr. Bradford derives without acknowledgment from John Hollander. Richard Eversole University of Kansas JOAN BEAL. English Pronunciation inthe Eighteenth Century: Thomas Spence’s ‘‘Grand Repository of the English Language .’’ Oxford: Oxford, 1999. Pp. 239. $120; $29.95 (paper). Ms. Beal argues in her comprehensive —though often dense—text that sound change during the...


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