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Metrical rules and the notion of ‘maximum’ : a reply to Derek Attridge

Fabb, Nigel (2003) Metrical rules and the notion of ‘maximum’ : a reply to Derek Attridge. Language and Literature, 12 (1). pp. 73-80. ISSN 0963-9470

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Attridge (2003) is in effect an argument against generative metrics, focusing on the notion of ‘stress maximum’. He argues that ‘stress maximum’ is inadequate on its own terms, which I will show is incorrect when we use a fuller definition (based on the original definition from Halle and Keyser, 1966). His solution is to present metre as control directly over the phonetics of the text, but I will show that metre controls metrical elements (maxima) rather than phonetic elements (stressed syllables).