Donne, John

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    The Prosodic Significance of Donne's "Accidentals"
    (Parergon, 1986) Daalder, Joost
    In the case of Donne, we are confronted with two extraordinary facts which are of the greatest interest to those who wish to consider the question of what his text (as a poet) is held to be and what in fact Donne might have liked it to be if he had seen his poems through the press. On the one hand, Donne's verse has acquired a reputation for prosodic "roughness" which we could never feel sure was intended by him or caused by his copyists (printers and scribes); on the other hand, we have in recent years gained access to a copy of a poem in his own hand which, although it is only one poem, is informative enough to let us measure Donne's reputation for roughness against the exact details of what he wrote, and thus to get some idea as to whether the roughness which critics think they can see is real and intended by Donne, or a matter of the way his text has come to us.