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Symmetric and asymmetric relations, and the aesthetics of form in poetic language

Fabb, Nigel (2009) Symmetric and asymmetric relations, and the aesthetics of form in poetic language. European English Messenger, 18 (1). pp. 50-59.

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Abstract

This article asks how the properties of symmetry and asymmetry, as aesthetic properties, are realized in literary language. I will argue that language makes available many kinds of asymmetry, and that the asymmetry often holds between two elements which are at the same time in a symmetric relation. This coincidence of an asymmetric and a symmetric relation between the same linguistic elements may be one source of the aesthetics of literary language.