Long trochaic lines in Czech poetry
This article presents an overview and an explication of long-trochaic verse in Czech poetry, particularly of the nineteenth century. It seeks to supplement Miroslav Červenka´s explication of Czech syllabotonic verse from Kapitoly o českém verši [Chapters on Czech verse], which Červenka was unable to finish. The author takes advantage of material which had been elaborated for international researchers working on Slavic verse, but in many respects has been expanded by other collections of work. Long-trochaic verse is explored here from the point of view of its inner structure and the history of literature. In the National Revival, trochaic pentameter was the meter employed most frequently after trochaic tetrameter; it was the high-style meter trating serious topics, but from the second half of the nineteenth century onwards it began to lose its status. What was fundamental to trochaic hexameter was whether or not it kept to the rule that it was divided into two symmetrical units in a line. During the National Revival it was used a great deal, particularly in celebratory and reflective verse and in translations. It appears later in most epic verse and lyrical-narrative verse, and often also in polymetric verse. Trochaic heptameter occurs least frequently in Czech verse, and usually in combination with other metrical forms (trochaic pentameter and hexameter). Trochaic octameter from Milota Zdirad Polák´s Vznešenost přírody (1819) was used for the portrayal of natural phenomena or in pathos-filled meditations. Twentieth-century authors were no longer interested in this meter, because for them free verse had become an alternative to long metrical line.
Česká literatura, redakce, Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR, v. v. i., Na Florenci 3/1420, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
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