- Eduard Sievers
Eduard Sievers (
25 November 1850, Lippoldsberg- 30 March 1932, Leipzig) was a philologistof the classical and Germanic languages. Sievers was one of the " Junggrammatiker" of the so-called Leipzig School. He was one of the most influential historical linguists of the late nineteenth century, and is best known for his recovery of the poetic traditions of Germanic languages such as Anglo-Saxon and Old Saxon.
Sievers' analysis was a system of five patterns which indicated how the poetic line (or, more specifically, the poetic
half-line) was to be emphasized or unemphasized, e.g. stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed, unstressed-stressed-unstressed-stressed, etc. This seemingly elementary analysis was significant because of the difficulty experienced by previous scholars in identifying where the poetic line began and ended. Germanic poetry, in its written form, rarely indicated the line division.
Moreover, even though it was clear that some words were of greater importance than others and were thus supposed to be stressed, there were few limitations on the length of the unstressed sequences, which made the identification of the poetic line even more difficult. In Shakespearean verse, for example, a typical poetic line is:
::"it IS the EAST and JUliET’s the SUN"
Here stressed and unstressed syllables follow one after the other. In Old Saxon, however, a line might read:
::"LIthi an thesaru LOGnu"
In this example, five syllables occur between the stressed syllables "LI-" and "LOG".
Sievers examined these issues in great detail, as well as the questions of relative stress and clashing stresses in poetry.
Sievers himself later abandoned this type of analysis it in favor of "
Schallanalyse", or 'sound analysis,' a system which was understood by very few apart from Sievers and those close to him.
His analysis was widely, though not universally, accepted among philologists.Fact|date=February 2008
Sievers’s work on the rhythms of Anglo-Saxon poetry influenced the poetry of
Ezra Pound,ref|zbc in particular in poems such as his version of "The Seafarer".
* [http://www.catalogus-professorum-halensis.de/sieverseduard.html Eduard Sievers ] at www.catalogus-professorum-halensis.de (German language)
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