Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Chaucer and "the redundant style” - the influence of an oral culture - Page 6

At first this sounds odd if we apply the modern meaning to the word, redundant, as superflous. Here this term applies to a style of writing that was steeped in rhetoric and the oral culture prevalent before printing changed the medieval world.

•The kind of style, aiming at eloquence and copiousness is technically described as “The redundant style” and it is based in a social oral culture.
•Redundancy, having established the central point, emphasises it by repetition and then allows the audience to meditate on its implications.
•Poetry that has a social oral base helps turn literate learned matter into an oral style.
•Such speeches need to be read with the ear, without impatience to get on with the action. (Leisurely progress.)
•When listening, an audience needs guide-lines to what is going on, advance notice of the next subject, and appreciates the sense of leisurely collaboration.

Repetition with variation (the redundant style)
This is often used to create heightened feeling. (i.e. Hamlet’s “To be or not to be speech” is a set of variations which are repetitions on the same theme.)
The social context of orality allows repetition to develop poetic power.

It is easily misunderstood because its oral origins have been forgotten.

To repeat (the redundant syle)
In opera it fulfils the role of an aria – it involves repetitions and variations on a given theme.

It emphasises through its repetitions and allows the audience to meditate on its implications.

"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender! " Part of the famous speech by Winston Churchill in 1940.

See instructions for activities on page 2

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I teach Film, Media and English Lit.