But I Digress: The Exploitation of Parentheses in English Printed Verse

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byJohn Lennard

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Dr Johnson disapproved of parentheses and wouldn't use them; and for three centuries grammarians have argued that they are subordinate, additional, unnecessary, irrelevant, and damaging to the clarity of argument. But for Marlowe, Marvell, Swift, Coleridge, Byron, Browning, Eliot, GeoffreyHill, and Derek Walcott (to name only poets) parentheses have been emphatic, original, necessary, relevant, and essential to the clarity of argument. They also intensify satire. Dr Lennard offers both a new history of the poetic use of lunulae (the marks of parenthesis) from their first appearancein England in 1494 to the present day, and detailed case-studies of individual poets who exploited lunulae. In combination the historical development of use and the individual's practice in a given period reveal the impact on literary composition of technological, philosophical, and politicalpressures, and the importance for the reader of regarding punctuation as a resource.

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Dr Johnson disapproved of parentheses and wouldn't use them; and for three centuries grammarians have argued that they are subordinate, additional, unnecessary, irrelevant, and damaging to the clarity of argument. But for Marlowe, Marvell, Swift, Coleridge, Byron, Browning, Eliot, GeoffreyHill, and Derek Walcott (to name only poets) p...

John Lennard is at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:340 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.94 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198112475

ISBN - 13:9780198112471

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`Mr Lennard's illuminating interpretive analyses amply demonstrate the significance of the parenthesis.'The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats, vol.29, Autumn 1996