This book attempts to solve the yet unsolved mystery: what are the intuitive rules of versification followed by poets and readers in writing and reading poetry? It performs a small Copernican Revolution, shifting the constraints from verse structure to the reader's "Rhythmic Competence". It confers a psychological meaning upon the phrase "rhythmical performance", that allows us to make predictions concerning the rhythmical performance of a metrically complex line. The theoretical discussions are supported by empirical research, in which readings by leading British actors and colleagues from the academy are submitted to an instrumental investigation.
"[Tsur] has done powerful experiments, challenging the leading model in the field: the Keyser-Halle transformational model for English stress. Despite my admiration for that model, I have to admit that Tsur's challenge is quite formidable". (Norman Holland)
"One of the most sustained attempts to 'explain' and contextualize the findings of the generative metrists has been pursued over the past fifteen years by Reuven Tsur at Tel Aviv University". (Richard D. Cureton, Rhythmic Phrasing in English Poetry)
The Author: Professor Reuven Tsur teaches Cognitive Poetics and Hebrew Literature at Tel Aviv University. He is Middle East Vice President of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. He has published fourteen books and over forty articles on literary theory.
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