TITLE

RELATIVE STRESS PRINCIPLE

AUTHOR(S)
T.V.F.B.
PUB. DATE
January 1993
SOURCE
New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics;1993, p1019
SOURCE TYPE
Book
DOC. TYPE
Reference Entry
ABSTRACT
This article presents a definition of the term RELATIVE STRESS PRINCIPLE. In a paper given in Denmark in 1900, Otto Jespersen identified the principle which was to become one of the axioms of modern metrics: "the effect of surroundings." Castigating 19th-c. metrists for three fallacies handed down from antiquity--the fallacies of long and short (modern meters employ stress or tone), the foot (an artificial distinction which can only lead to unnatural scansions), and two grades of stress (rather than four)--Jespersen makes the sanguine observation that "our ear does not really perceive stress relations with any degree of certainty except when the syllables concerned are contiguous"; in meter "the only thing required by the ear is an upward and a downward movement, a rise and fall … at fixed places" regardless of "how great is the ascent or the descent."
ACCESSION #
18912220

 

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