Poetic and Highly Literary Words
Poetic and Highly Literary Words. Poetic words form a rather insignificant layer of the special literary vocabulary. They are mostly archaic or very rarely used highly literary words which aim at producing an elevated effect. They have a marked tendency to detach themselves from the common literary word-stock and gradually assume the quality of terms denoting certain definite notions and calling forth poetic diction. Poetic words and expressions are called upon to sustain the special elevated atmosphere of poetry. This may be said to be the main function of poetic words. V. V. Vinogradov gives the following properties of poetic words: "...the cobweb of poetic words and images veils the reality, stylizing it according to the established literary norms and canons. A word is torn away from its referent. Being drawn into the system of literary styles, the words are selected and arranged in groups of definite images, in phraseological series, which grow standardized and stale and are becoming conventional symbols of definite phenomena or characters or of definite ideas or impressions.'' Poetical tradition has kept alive such archaic words and forms as yclept (p. p. of the old verb clipian—to call, name); quoth (p. t. of со)ед-an — to speak); eftsoons (eftsona,— again, soon after), which are used even by modern ballad-mongers. The use of poetic words does not as a rule create the atmosphere of poetry in the true sense; it is a substitute for real art. Poetic words are not freely built in contrast to neutral, colloquial and common literary words, or terms. The commonest means is by compounding, e. g. 'young-eyed', 'rosy-fingered'. Some writers make abundant use of this word-building means. Thus Arthur Hailey in his novel "In High Places" has 'serious-faced', 'high-ceilinged', 'beige-carpeted',...
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