Catalexis (174 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME .

Context

Catalexis (adj. catalectic): the omission of an expected offbeat (see prosody). It is commonplace in ictosyllabic verse at the beginning or end of the line, as in this example of anapestic tetrameter:

(.)      .      *  |    .    .    *|    .     .     * |   .      .      *
    While Pan |and fair Sy|rinx are fled |from our shore,

(.)    .     * |  .    .     *|    .         .      *    | .  .     *
    The Mu|ses are ba|nished, and Love |is no more;

(Dryden, “The Lady's Song”)

In ictothetic verse it is rather rare, however, and occurs only i…

Citation: Groves, Peter Lewis. "Catalexis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001; last revised 02 November 2005. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=169, accessed 16 August 2022.]

169 Catalexis 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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