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|The Review of English Studies: the leading journal of English literature and language, 2007; 58(235):338-363
|Copyright © The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press 2007; all rights reserved
|William Barnes published three collections of dialect poems in the mid-nineteenth century. The First collection went through four editions and the Second and Third collections through two editions each before all three were brought together in one volume as Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect (1879). There are many changes from edition to edition; in particular, in later editions Barnes abandoned the spelling system and many of the distinctive grammatical features that he had used in the first edition of the First collection (1844), and that he had carefully explained in the Dissertation prefixed to that edition. This essay argues that the language of the 1844 edition gives a much more faithful representation of the dialect than that of later volumes; that a new edition of the 1844 collection is urgently needed; and that Barnes's achievement as a poet cannot be properly understood without the publication of a pronunciation guide to the dialect poems (paying close attention to the language of the 1844 collection) and a Variorum edition of his complete poetic works.
|T. L. Burton
|Oxford Univ Press
|What William Barnes done: Dilution of the dialect in later versions of the Poems of Rural Life
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|Aurora harvest 6
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