Symmetric and asymmetric relations, and the aesthetics of form in poetic language

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This article asks how the properties of symmetry and asymmetry, as aesthetic properties, are realized in literary language. I will argue that language makes available many kinds of asymmetry, and that the asymmetry often holds between two elements which are at the same time in a symmetric relation. This coincidence of an asymmetric and a symmetric relation between the same linguistic elements may be one source of the aesthetics of literary language.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean English Messenger
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2009


  • linguistics
  • aesthetics
  • metre
  • english studies

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