Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005280, Tue, 4 Jul 2000 09:43:36 -0700

Re: Pale Fire & Heroic Couplets (fwd)
From: Thomas Bolt <bolt@tbolt.com>

Heroic also means epic--or, as with Pope,

Blank verse is also an epic measure.

Wordsworth, in adapting epic tools (measure,
heroic simile) to domestic and personal ends
(as in the Prelude), is not too distant from
the mock-epic tradition; is writing a kind of
serious mock epic.

I would suggest that to be between Goldsmith
(or Pope) and Wordsworth is to be in this
land of the domesticated epic.

In terms of prosody this also makes sense--
a relaxed (mock) heroic measure that can
evoke the power of the end-stopped
couplet or run of couplets yet also accommodate
both casual and forced enjambments, or
even adapt to conversation.

I would also suggest that this flexibility can give
the pure heroic couplets, through contrast,
more impact.

Tom Bolt