Blank Verse

Blank verse is poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. It has been described as "probably the most common and influential form that English poetry has taken since the sixteenth century" and Paul Fussell has claimed that "about three-quarters of all English poetry is in blank verse."

The first documented use of blank verse in the English language was by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey in his translation of the ├ćneid (composed c. 1540; published 1554-1557). He was possibly inspired by the Latin original, as classical Latin verse (as well as Greek verse) did not use rhyme; or he may have been inspired by the Italian verse form of versi sciolti, which also contained no rhyme. The play Arden of Faversham (circa 1590 by an unknown author) is a notable example of end-stopped blank verse.

Christopher Marlowe was the first English author to make full use of the potential of blank verse, and also established it as the dominant verse form for English drama in the age of Elizabeth I and James I. The major achievements in English blank verse were made by William Shakespeare, who wrote much of the content of his plays in unrhymed iambic pentameter, and Milton, whose Paradise Lost is written in blank verse. Miltonic blank verse was widely imitated in the 18th century by such poets as James Thomson (in The Seasons) and William Cowper (in The Task). Romantic English poets such as William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats used blank verse as a major form. Shortly afterwards, Alfred, Lord Tennyson became particularly devoted to blank verse, using it for example in his long narrative poem "The Princess", as well as for one of his most famous poems: "Ulysses". Among American poets, Hart Crane and Wallace Stevens are notable for using blank verse in extended compositions at a time when many other poets were turning to free verse.

Read more about Blank Verse:  History of English Blank Verse

Other articles related to "blank, blank verse, verse":

Fallen Fairies
... Like a number of Gilbert's blank-verse plays, Fallen Fairies treats the ensuing consequences when an all-female world is disrupted by men and the romantic complications they bring ... Princess Ida and Fallen Fairies, both based on earlier blank-verse plays by Gilbert, unlike most of Gilbert's operas, both retain blank verse in the ...
The Princess (play) - Background
... and drama, including his series of blank verse "fairy comedies", beginning with The Palace of Truth later in 1870 and his first operas with Arthur Sullivan ... The play is a farcical burlesque of Tennyson's 1847 narrative blank-verse poem, The Princess ... Gilbert's play is also written in blank verse and retains Tennyson's basic serio-comic story line about a heroic princess who runs a women's college and about the prince who loves her ...
The Wicked World - Background
... Gilbert created several blank verse "fairy comedies" at the Haymarket Theatre for John Baldwin Buckstone and starring William Hunter Kendal and his wife Madge Robertson Kendal (sister of the playwright Tom ... a step forward for Gilbert, the blank verse is a drawback, as it limits Gilbert's vital prose style ... Like a number of Gilbert's blank-verse plays, The Wicked World treats the subject of the consequences that ensue when an all-female world is disrupted ...
Clarel - Form
... the work in prose, or at least in blank verse, arguing To wish that Clarel had been written in blank verse, for example, is simply to wish for a completely different poem ... Pentameter -- especially blank verse -- was too ample and overflowing for his present mood and theme ...
History of English Blank Verse
... Gorboduc (1561), the first blank-verse tragedy, illustrates how monotonous such verse could be ... was the first to exploit the potential of blank verse for powerful and involved speech You stars that reign'd at my nativity, Whose influence hath allotted death and ... developed this feature, and also the potential of blank verse for abrupt and irregular speech ...

Famous quotes related to blank verse:

    All right, so there he is, our representative to the world, Mr. Western Civilization, in codpiece and pantyhose up there on the boards, firing away at the rapt groundlings with his blank verses, not less of a word-slinger and spellbinder than the Bard himself and therefore not to be considered too curiously on such matters as relevance, coherence, consistency, propriety, sanity, common decency.
    Marvin Mudrick (1921–1986)