Breaking of Style by Helen Vendler
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Breaking of Style
By Helen Vendler

The Breaking of Style

Hopkins, Heaney, Graham

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Format: Paperback

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Breaking of Style by Helen Vendler

Book Description

Style is the material body of lyric poetry, Helen Vendler suggests. To cast off an earlier style is to do an act of violence to the self. Why might a poet do this, adopting a sharply different form? In this exploration of three kinds of break in poetic style, Vendler clarifies the essential connection between style and substance in poetry. Opening perspectives in the work of three very different poets, her study of changes in style yields a view of the interplay of moral, emotional and intellectual forces in a poet's work. Gerard Manley Hopkins' invention of sprung rhythm marks a dramatic break with his early style. Rhythm, Vendler shows us, is at the heart of Hopkins' aesthetic, and sprung rhythm is his symbol for danger, difference and the shock of the beautiful. In Seamus Heaney's work, she identifies clear shifts in grammatical "atmosphere" from one person to the next - from "nounness" to the "betweenness" of an adverbial style - shifts whose moral and political implications come under scrutiny here. And finally Vendler looks at Jorie Graham's departure from short lines to numbered lines to squared long lines of sentences, marking a move from deliberation to cinematic "freeze-framing" to coverage, each with its own meaning in this poet's career. Throughout, Vendler reminds us that what distinguishes successful poetry is a mastery of language at all levels - including the rhythmic, the grammatical and the graphic.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674081215
ISBN-10: 0674081218
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 9mm)
Pages: 112
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 2-Jan-1996
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Helen Vendler

Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar by Helen Vendler Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar, Hardback (May 2015)

One of our foremost commentators examines the work of a broad range of English, Irish, and American poets. Helen Vendler's essays, book reviews, and occasional prose from the past two decades, taken together, are an eloquent plea for the centrality--in humanistic study and modern culture--of poetry's subversive, sustaining, and demanding legacy.

Dickinson by Helen Vendler Dickinson, Paperback (November 2012)

Seamus Heaney, Denis Donoghue, William Pritchard, Harold Bloom, and many others have praised the author as one of the most attentive readers of poetry. In this title, she turns her illuminating skills as a critic to 150 selected poems of Emily Dickinson. She serves as a guide, considering the stylistic and imaginative features of the poems.

Imagination and Logos by Helen Vendler Imagination and Logos, Hardback (November 2010)

Explores interdisciplinary approaches to the poetics, intertexts, and influence of the work of C P Cavafy (Konstantinos Kavafis), one of the most important twentieth-century European poets.

Last Looks, Last Books by Helen Vendler Last Looks, Last Books, Hardback (March 2010)

Examines the ways in which five great modern American poets, writing their final books, try to find a style that does justice to life and death alike. This title focuses on the books: "The Rock", "Ariel", "Day by Day", "Geography III" and "A Scattering of Salts".

» View all books by Helen Vendler


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Author Biography - Helen Vendler

Helen Vendler is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University.

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Recent books by Helen Vendler close
Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar by Helen Vendler
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