Acatalexis

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An acatalectic line of verse is one having the metrically complete number of syllables in the final foot.[1] When talking about poetry written in English the term is arguably of limited significance or utility, at least by comparison to its antonym, catalectic, for the simple reason that acatalexis is considered to be the "usual case" in the large majority of metrical contexts and therefore explicit reference to it proves almost universally superfluous.

For example, to describe Shakespeare's sonnets as having been written in iambic pentameter acatalectic would be factually accurate, but in practice would be absurd, because iambic pentameter is presumed to be acatalectic unless otherwise specified as being subject to catalexis. However, in very rare contexts where catalexis might be considered probable (e.g., in English trochaic tetrameter, or in differentiating acatalectic verses from surrounding catalectic ones), explicit expression of the verse's metrical completeness may be achieved by using the term. When talking about poems published in other languages than English the term might prove itself more useful.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Cuddon, John Anthony (1998). A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Wiley. pp. 5–6. ISBN 9780631202714.