Friday, March 24, 2023

Epanorthosis in Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Monument”

I was amused — no, I was thrilled — when a student taught me the rhetorical figure of epanorthosis: the correction — no, the emphatic replacement — of a word by another word or phrase that is more precise — as in my uses of the figure in this sentence. The student was discussing the opening of Elizabeth Bishop's "The Monument" (from her 1946 collection "North & South"): "Now can you see the monument?  It is of wood / built somewhat like a box. No. Built / like several boxes in descending sizes / one above the other." In our Bishop course, we had followed Mark Doty in calling this and other constructions "Bishop's characteristic hesitations". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 March 2023)

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