By Geoffrey N. Leech
Seeks to illustrate that the research of English poetry is enriched by way of the insights of contemporary linguistic research, and that linguistic and important disciplines aren't separate yet complementary. studying quite a lot of poetry, Professor Leech considers many features of poetic type, together with the language of earlier and current, artistic language, poetic licence, repetition, sound, metre, context and ambiguity.
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That the elevated, archaistic language of these Romantic and Victorian “epics” and “poetical romances” is of a piece with the elevated archaistic language characterizing most nineteenth-century translations of traditional material (including those of William Morris) is suggestive of how closely the two were associated in the nineteenth-century imagination. INTRODUCTION 39 The cadenced, archaistic language of Morris’s followers, in addition to the romance- and saga-based narrative textures and the general nature of the subject matter, would suggest that the pregenre literary fantasy canon was an organic outgrowth of both the scholarly tradition that built the framework within which the traditional material could be understood, and thereby processed imaginatively, and its contemporary poetic narrative tradition, which existed in fundamentally the same relation to the traditional material as the later prose work.
Indeed, the fact that they felt constrained to mention it indicates awareness that at least some of the external features of the works in question had some connection to the fairy-story. That modern fantasy is strongly allied with the tradition of the fairystory (which more often than not is set in an invented world in which magic works) has, of course, been widely recognized. New interpretations of traditional tales and original fairy tales, from Robin McKinley’s Beauty (1978) to the tales collected by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling in The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm (2004), abound in the fantasy sections of bookstores.
Swinfen has, with virtually no qualification, substituted the word fantasy for Tolkien’s term fairy-story, implicitly suggesting that the two are functionally identical. But, though she does use Tolkien substantially in developing her working definition of fantasy (she also uses Dante, Coleridge, and Aristotle), it is quite evident that, though what she means by fantasy may overlap with what Tolkien means by fairy-story, the two are not identical. The beast fable and the “Lilliputian story” may not be fairy-stories according to Tolkien’s framework and yet be fantasy according to Swinfen’s.