This book repositions thinking about rhythm, meter and versification during the "Mechanical Age." Cutting across disciplinary boundaries, the book examines the rhythmical workings of poems alongside not only Victorian theories of prosody and poetics but also contemporary thinking about labor practices, pedagogical procedures, scientific experiments, and technological innovations. By offering an exploded definition of meter-one that extends beyond conventional foot-based scansion-this book explicates the conceptual and, at times, material exchanges between poetic meter and machine culture. The machines of meter include mid-century theories of abstraction and technologies of smoothness and even spacing; a deeply influential, though rarely credited, system of metrical manufacture; verse produced by a Victorian automaton; the mechanics of the human body and mind and the meters that issued from them; and the promise of scientific machines to resolve metrical dilemmas once and for all.
Jason David Hall is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Exeter, UK. His books include Seamus Heaney: Poet, Critic, Translator (2007), Seamus Heaney's Rhythmic Contract (2009), Meter Matters: Verse Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century (2011), and Decadent Poetics: Literature and Form at the British Fin de Siècle (2013). His edition of Wilkie Collins's Jezebel's Daughter was published in 2016.
Introduction: Machines of Meter.- 1. Measurement, Temporality, Abstraction.- 2. Meter Manufactories.- 3. Automaton Versifiers.- 4. The Automatic Flow of Verse.- 5. Instrumental Prosody.- Select Bibliography.- Index.