17 jul. 2004

Literal-Minded: But I Don't Want a Comic Book!

Finally, a blog for the literal minded. Enough of this metaphor garbage.

I've always felt I am quite literal minded in some respects.

I remember this big argument I had with Al Gelpi in Grad School:

He was trying to say that there was a contradiction in a poem
about "openness" being written in a "closed" formed. (Roethke) He
couldn't see my point that "closed" and "open" here were
just metaphors,
with no real relation to the literal form of the poem.

It's like people who say that Shakespeare is using feminine
rhyme to express "femininity." I'm not sure that that was
even a term used in Shakespeare's day for that kind of rhyme.
If it wasn't, that argument is shot.

So if you have a few extra minutes and know the answer,
write me to tell me when the terms "masculine" and "feminine" rhyme
were first used in relation to rhyme in England. I understand the
use of the term in French prosody, because feminine rhyme ends
in the silent "e," which is a gender marker in French.
This rhyme is feminine even when the word is not feminine,
as in a verb like "parle." My hypothesis is that this terminology
was borrowed from French. I'm guessing 18th century?


Update: According to Mike Snider, who looked in up in the OED: 1775.