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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The ‘feet’ in poetic rhythm really do involve feet. The connection was made originally perhaps because people beat out the rhythm they heard with their feet or because many forms of Greek and Latin poetry—odes are an example—were based on dance rhythms or, in some cases, actually danced. Rhythmos in Greek means ‘balanced movement’. This chapter invites readers today to find their footing in Shakespeare’s verse by trying out five forms of movement that 16th- and 17th-century readers knew first-hand—or rather first-foot: (1) riding horses, (2) running, (3) dancing, (4) moving onstage in sync with rhythmic cues in scripts, and (5) habitually hearing rhythm with their bodies as they read. Our challenge, confronted with a poem on paper or within a virtual window, is to find our footing, through hearing what we see.

Keywords: Aristotle, dance, foot, horse riding kinesis, line, George Puttenham, rhyme, rhythm, Philip Sidney, time

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