'The sound must seem an eccho to the sense': An eighteenth-century controversy revisited (Alexander Pope versus Samuel Johnson on sound enactment in poetry)

Authors
Citation
R. Terry, 'The sound must seem an eccho to the sense': An eighteenth-century controversy revisited (Alexander Pope versus Samuel Johnson on sound enactment in poetry), MOD LANG R, 94, 1999, pp. 940-954
Citations number
60
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Language & Linguistics
Journal title
MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW
ISSN journal
0026-7937 → ACNP
Volume
94
Year of publication
1999
Part
4
Pages
940 - 954
Database
ISI
SICI code
0026-7937(199910)94:<940:'SMSAE>2.0.ZU;2-U
Abstract
During the eighteenth century, a controversy breaks out concerning the exte nt to which poets can use sound effects to mimic the subject-matter of thei r lines. Its catalyst is provided by Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism, w hich advocates that 'The Sound must seem an Eccho to the Sense'. That this principle is a valuable one, and that Pope's lines actually demonstrate it, are challenged by Samuel Johnson on the basis that sound enactment infring es the canon of regular numbers. In the later decades of the eighteenth cen tury, several commentators, including Lord Kames, Joseph Priestly, and Jame s Beattie, enter the controversy. Gradually a new conception of sound enact ment emerges in which such effects become understood in terms of an affecti ve rather than an imitative aesthetic.