Linguistic Approaches to Poetry
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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The Russian pentameter is historically associated with the English and German traditions, but typologically it has with some justice been compared to the French decasyllable. The present article analyzes the structure and cultural context of Russian pentameter and examines in detail the use of caesura in a small corpus of iambic pentameter poems by Afanasy Fet. It is shown that the use of caesura correlates with patterns of word stress. In particular, the appearance of caesuraed lines in poems in which caesura is relatively weak correlates with the stress patterns of the lines in question: caesuraed lines are less heavily stressed than uncaesuraed ones, a correlation that theoretically should promote equalization of line length across the text. Russian poetry has a general tendency to promote equality of line length, and the intrusion of occasional I6 lines into I5 texts, a phenomenon known in many Russian I5 poems, can be viewed as a related strategy for handling ragged I5 lines.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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