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  • © 2019

Difficulty in Poetry

A Stylistic Model

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Provides an innovative contribution to the stylistics of poetry

  • Presents an essentialist definition of ‘difficulty’

  • Applies this definition to a selection of 20th and 21st century Anglo-American poems

  • Offers an original framework for the analysis of difficulty in poetry that combines analytical tools from literary theory and cognitive psychology

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Softcover Book USD 109.99
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  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
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Hardcover Book USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
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Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvi
  2. Introduction

    • Davide Castiglione
    Pages 1-9
  3. Theorising Poetic Difficulty

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 11-11
    2. Previous Routes to Difficulty in Poetry

      • Davide Castiglione
      Pages 13-64
    3. Genes of Difficulty: The Indicators

      • Davide Castiglione
      Pages 95-166
  4. Analysing Poetic Difficulty

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 167-167
    2. Organisms of Difficulty: The Data

      • Davide Castiglione
      Pages 169-196
    3. Processing Baseline: The Easy Poem

      • Davide Castiglione
      Pages 197-221
    4. General Conclusions

      • Davide Castiglione
      Pages 337-365
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 367-386

About this book

This book theoretically defines and linguistically analyses the popular notion that poetry is ‘difficult’ - hard to read, hard to understand, hard to engage with. It is the first work to offer a stylistic and cognitive model that sheds new light on the mechanisms of difficulty, as well as on its range of potential effects. Its eight chapters are organised into two thematic parts. The first traces the history of difficulty, surveys its main scholarly traditions, addresses related themes – from elitism to obscurity, from abstraction to intentionality – and introduces a wide array of analytical tools from literary theory and cognitive psychology. These tools are then consistently applied in the second part, which includes several extended analyses of poems by canonical modernists such as Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens and Hart Crane, alongside those of postmodernist innovators such as Geoffrey Hill, Susan Howe and Charles Bernstein, among others. This innovative work will provide fresh insights and approaches for scholars of stylistics, literary studies, cognitive poetics and psychology.

Reviews

“Castiglione’s work is a triumph of clarity and rigour in a field all too often plagued by vagueness. His comprehensive account of prior approaches to poetic difficulty is both respectful and critical. He then demonstrates, via experiments and clear exposition, how we can investigate a complex literary phenomenon such as poetic difficulty without sacrificing scientific standards.” (Lesley Jeffries, Professor of English Language and Linguistics, University of Huddersfield, UK)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of English Philology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania

    Davide Castiglione

About the author

Davide Castiglione is a lecturer in the Department of English Philology at Vilnius University, Lithuania. Author of two poetry collections, and a specialist in the poetics and stylistics of poetry, his research has been published in the Journal of Literary Semantics and in Language and Literature.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Difficulty in Poetry

  • Book Subtitle: A Stylistic Model

  • Authors: Davide Castiglione

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-97001-1

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-97000-4Published: 26 October 2018

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-07283-4Published: 28 December 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-97001-1Published: 12 October 2018

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 386

  • Number of Illustrations: 25 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Stylistics, Poetry and Poetics, Cognitive Psychology, Literary Theory, Language and Literature, Psycholinguistics

Buy it now

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access