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This book is about the ways in which rhyme in French verse produces shapes or interferes with meaning - a topic which, despite its centrality, has hitherto received little critical attention. Part 1 examines those features which are peculiar to French rhyme - the different degrees of rhyme, rhyme gender, the frequency of rhymes on suffixes and endings - and explores the contributions they make to a poem's structure and semantic productivity. Its concern is twofold: to test the adequacy of the current methods of classifying rhymes and to demonstrate how comprehensive interpretations of a poem can be constructed from its rhyme-data. But wider issues are also confronted, including the relationships between rhyme and textuality, between rhyme and truth, between rhyme and rhythm. Part 2 analyses specific plays, poems and collections of poems: Racine's Mithridate, Moliere's Les Femmes Savantes, Voltaire's Poeme sur le Desastre de Lisbonne, Verlaine's Fetes galantes and Aragon's Les Yeux d'Elsa.
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