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Encyclopedia > Villanelle
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A villanelle is a poetic form which entered English-language poetry in the 1800s from the imitation of French models.[1] A villanelle has only two rhyme sounds. The first and third lines of the first stanza are rhyming refrains that alternate as the third line in each successive stanza and form a couplet at the close. A villanelle is nineteen lines long, consisting of five tercets and one concluding quatrain. The final quatrain of a villanelle has been said, when written correctly, to be wicked awesome. [2] Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... This article is about the art form. ... A rhyme is a repetition of identical or similar terminal sounds in two or more different words (i. ... In poetry, a stanza is a unit within a larger poem. ... A refrain (from the Old French refraindre to repeat, likely from Vulgar Latin refringere) is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the chorus of a song. ... For the Angel episode, see Couplet (Angel episode). ... A tercet is three lines of poetry forming a stanza or complete poem. ... A quatrain is a poem or a stanza within a poem that consists of four lines. ...

Contents

Derivation

Many published works mistakenly claim that the strict modern form of the villanelle originated with the medieval troubadours, but in fact medieval and Renaissance villanelles were simple ballad-like songs with no fixed form or length.[1] Such songs were associated with the country and were thought to be sung by farmers and shepherds, in contrast to the more complex madrigals associated with sophisticated city and court life. The French word villanelle comes from the Italian word villanella, which derives from the Latin villa (farm) and villano (farmhand); to any poet before the mid-nineteenth century, the word villanelle or villanella would have simply meant country song, with no particular form implied. The modern nineteen-line dual-refrain form of the villanelle derives from nineteenth-century admiration of the only Renaissance poem in that form: a poem about a turtledove by Jean Passerat (15341602) titled "Villanelle."[3] The chief French popularizer of the villanelle form was the nineteenth-century author Théodore de Banville; Banville was led to think that the villanelle was an antique form by Wilhelm Ténint.[4] In music, a villanella (pl. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Jean Passerat (1534-1602), French political satirist and poet, was born at Troyes, on the 18th of October 1534. ... 1534 (MDXXXIV) was a common year in the 16th century. ... This page is about the year. ... Theodore Faullain de Banville (March 14, 1823 – March 15, 1891) was a French poet and writer. ... Wilhelm Ténint (1813-?) was a minor French Romantic writer. ...


The Villanelle in English

Although the villanelle is usually labeled "a French form," by far the majority of villanelles are in English. Edmund Gosse, influenced by Théodore de Banville, was the first English writer to praise the villanelle and bring it into fashion with his 1877 essay "A Plea for Certain Exotic Forms of Verse." Gosse, Austin Dobson, Oscar Wilde, and Edwin Arlington Robinson were among the first English practitioners. Most modernists disdained the villanelle, which became associated with the overwrought formal aestheticism of the 1890s; i.e. the decadent movement in England. James Joyce included a villanelle ostensibly written by his adolescent fictional alter-ego Stephen Dedalus in his 1914 novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, probably to show the immaturity of Stephen's literary abilities. William Empson revived the villanelle more seriously in the 1930s, and his contemporaries and friends W. H. Auden and Dylan Thomas also picked up the form. Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night" is perhaps the most renowned villanelle of all. Theodore Roethke and Sylvia Plath wrote villanelles in the 1950s and 1960s, and Elizabeth Bishop wrote a particularly famous and influential villanelle, "One Art," in 1976. The villanelle reached an unprecedented level of popularity in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of the New Formalism. Since then, many contemporary poets (for instance, John M. Ford) have written villanelles, and they have often varied the form in innovative ways. Edmund William Gosse (September 21, 1849 - May 16, 1928) was an English poet, author and critic, the son of Philip Henry Gosse. ... Theodore Faullain de Banville (March 14, 1823 – March 15, 1891) was a French poet and writer. ... Henry Austin Dobson (January 18, 1840 – September 2, 1921) was an English poet and essayist. ... Oscar Fingal OFlahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and author of short stories. ... Edwin Arlington Robinson Edwin Arlington Robinson (December 22, 1869 – April 6, 1935) was an American poet, who won three Pulitzer Prizes for his work. ... This article is about the writer and poet. ... Stephen Dedalus was James Joyces early pen name and the name of the main character of his early novel Stephen Hero. ... A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialized in The Egoist from 1914 to 1915 and published in book form in 1916. ... William Empson Sir William Empson (27 September 1906 – 15 April 1984) was an English literary critic and poet, reckoned by some to be the greatest English literary critic after Samuel Johnson and William Hazlitt and fitting heir to their mode of witty, fiercely heterodox and imaginatively rich criticism. ... Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) (IPA: ; first syllable of Auden rhymes with law), who signed his works W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. ... Dylan Thomas Dylan Marlais Thomas (October 27, 1914 – November 9, 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer. ... Do not go gentle into that good night, a villanelle composed in 1951, is considered to be among the finest works by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953). ... Theodore Huebner Roethke (; RET-key) (May 25, 1908 – August 1, 1963) was a United States poet, who published several volumes of poetry characterized by its rhythm and natural imagery. ... Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. ... Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979), was an American poet and writer. ... New Formalism is a late-twentieth and early twenty-first century movement in American poetry that has promoted a return to metrical and rhymed verse. ... John M. Ford portrait 2000 John Milo Mike Ford (April 10, 1957 – September 25, 2006) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, game designer, and poet. ...


Form

The villanelle has no established meter, although most nineteenth-century villanelles have eight or six syllables per line and most twentieth-century villanelles have ten syllables per line. The essence of the fixed modern form is its distinctive pattern of rhyme and repetition. The rhyme-and-refrain pattern of the villanelle can be schematized as A1bA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2 abA1A2 where letters ("a" and "b") indicate the two rhyme sounds, upper case indicates a refrain ("A"), and superscript numerals (1 and 2) indicate Refrain 1 and Refrain 2.

Refrain 1 (A1)
Line 2 (b)
Refrain 2 (A2)
Line 4 (a)
Line 5 (b)
Refrain 1 (A1)
Line 7 (a)
Line 8 (b)
Refrain 2 (A2)
Line 10 (a)
Line 11 (b)
Refrain 1 (A1)
Line 13 (a)
Line 14 (b)
Refrain 2 (A2)
Line 16 (a)
Line 17 (b)
Refrain 1 (A1)
Refrain 2 (A2)

Examples

  • Edwin Arlington Robinson's villanelle "The House on the Hill" was first published in The Globe in September 1894.
They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.
Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill.
They are all gone away.
Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.
Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,
And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.
There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.
  • Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," first published in the journal Botteghe Oscure in 1951.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The full text is available at Poets.org.


See also

Vers de société, a term for social or familiar poetry, which was originally borrowed from the French, and has now come to rank as an English expression (see Fennell, The Stamford Dictionary of Anglicised Words). ... In music, a villanella (pl. ... A paradelle is a modern poetic form which was invented by United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins as a parody of the villanelle. ... A terzanelle is a poetry form which is a combination of the villanelle and the terza rima. ... Terza rima is a rhyming verse stanza form that was first used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. ... A tercet is three lines of poetry forming a stanza or complete poem. ... Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979), was an American poet and writer. ... Theodore Huebner Roethke (; RET-key) (May 25, 1908 – August 1, 1963) was a United States poet, who published several volumes of poetry characterized by its rhythm and natural imagery. ... Harry Weldon Kees (February 24, 1914- presumed dead July 18, 1955) was an American poet, critic, novelist and short story writer. ... Marilyn Hacker (born 1942) is an American poet, critic, and reviewer. ... Wendy Cope (born July 21, 1945) is a contemporary English poet. ... Jared Carter is a contemporary American poet born on January 10, 1939, in Elwood, Indiana. ... Francis Reginald Scott (Frank Scott, F.R. Scott) (August 1, 1899 - January 30, 1985) was a Canadian poet, intellectual and constitutional expert. ...

External links

John M. Ford portrait 2000 John Milo Mike Ford (April 10, 1957 – September 25, 2006) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, game designer, and poet. ...

References

  1. ^ a b Kane, Julie. "The Myth of the Fixed-Form Villanelle". Modern Language Quarterly 64.4 (2003): 427-43.
  2. ^ Preminger, Alex (1993). The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691032718. 
  3. ^ French, Amanda. "The First Villanelle: A New Translation of Jean Passerat's 'J'ay perdu ma tourterelle' (1574)." Meridian 12 (2003): 30-37.
  4. ^ French, Amanda. "Refrain, Again: The Return of the Villanelle". Dissertation, University of Virginia, 2004.

 
 

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