On 9/8/2011 6:07 PM, David Bircumshaw wrote:
> H'm : you know Wordsworth's friend Southey in his pre-tory youth was
> notorious for refusing to wear a powdered wig at table at Oxford, while too
> it was the Dawn of the Age of Trousers as well as Steam. The move was away
> from aristocratic style: the Regency was a bridge between eighteenth century
> high style and the coming age of Victorian respectability. But 'natural
> speech' always begs the question 'whose' as well as the consideration that
> as far as poetry is concerned 'natural speech' is A Rhetorical Device every
> bit as 'artificial' as weaves of end-rhyme or syllabics or what you will.
I dunno about "every bit," Dave. Free verse has to be more natural than formal verse, assuming prose to be natural. But if you want to go with something like "general-public speech" versus "specialist-group speech" instead of "natural" versus "artificial," I won't protest. Wordsworth always seemed pretty high-style to me, but at the time I suspect his language seemed an order or magnitude closer to the common speech, or speech of the majority, than that of those preceding him. Shakespeare's may have, too, for all I know. Lots of specialized mythology for a modern reader, but much less than other poets of the time used, for instance. Interesting subject I haven't read enough to do more than make impressionist stabs about.
all best, Bob