Metrical inversion and enjambment in the context of syntactic and morphological structures
This paper looks at the interdependence of metrical and linguistic units, focussing on metrical inversion and enjambment. While metrical texts favour (diagrammatic) iconicity as a result of equivalence (repetition) on the level of stress, foot, verse, stanza, etc., another source for iconicity is to be found in non-equivalent phenomena such as metrical inversion and enjambment. An example for inversion is the beginning of the first line of one of Keats’ sonnets — “<i>Much have I travelled</i> in the realms of gold” — where metrical inversion coincides with syntactic inversion. The basis for enjambment is a discrepancy between metrical and syntactic structures, a discrepancy which may even affect morphology, as is the case at the beginning of Hopkins’ <i>The Windhover</i>, where the change of the lines results in cutting asunder a word: “<i>king- / dom</i>”. Having demonstrated, at the level of meter, the interaction of the principles of equivalence and non-equivalence — according to Jakobson a fundamental quality of poetic texts in general — the paper points the way towards a poetics of verse.