A practical and theoretical introduction to issues in medieval and modern poetics, focalized through Chaucer’s verse forms. Emphasis on metrical form, the momentum of metrical traditions, the translation of prosody between languages, and the circulation of cultural stereotypes about meter. We ask how poetic traditions develop, why they endure or disappear, and how the practice and theory of meter changes over time.


Introduction to verse history and historical poetics
The alliterative tradition in its eighth century
Chaucer’s tetrameter and template meter
Chaucer’s pentameter, tail rhyme, and prose
Chaucer’s pentameter in the fifteenth century
(Chaucer’s) pentameter in the sixteenth century
Pentameter in the nineteenth century
Pentameter in the twentieth century

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