Follow the meter

Boston College Associate Professor of English Eric Weiskott challenges the divide between medieval and modern literature in his new book, Meter and Modernity in English Verse, 1350-1650 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). He argues that the traditional periodization of literature in modern scholarship distorts the meaning of meters as they appeared to early poets and readers. Meter and Modernity In English Verse examines the uses and misuses of three meters (alliterative meter, tetrameter, and pentameter) as markers of literary time. Exploring the work of William Langland, Geoffrey Chaucer, and others, Weiskott uses metrical history to renegotiate the trajectories of English literary history and advances a narrative of sociocultural change that runs parallel to metrical change, exploring the relationship between literary practice, social placement, and historical time. Weiskott also is author of the award-winning English Alliterative Verse: Poetic Tradition and Literary History. His current book project is Unheard Melodies: Apophatic Poetics in English Literature.

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