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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

When critics speak of “free verse” they usually have either modernst poetic innovations or a few unorthodox poets like William Blake and Walt Whitman in mind. In truth, though, free verse was “discovered” by eighteenth-century critics who began to explore the opportunities for English poetry opened up by Milton’s non-dramatic blank verse. Their work, informed especially by the “Elocution Movement” of the mid-eighteenth century, prefigures modern close-reading and goes further than that in its consideration of creative potentialities for poets. The critics of the eighteenth century are unique in their perception of literary language as the source of imaginative hypotheses.

Keywords: poetry, form, blank verse, free verse, prose

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