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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Ground-breaking23 July 2002
- Published on Amazon.com
Gasparov rules, period. I've always known that, I just regret there are not too many people with the capacity to appreciate it. First, he seems to be about the only major scholar advocating a scientific approach to humanities, especially to the study of literature. Second, this book is the one and only history of Indo-European versification from its mysterious proto-sources to the avant-garde of today. Third, its scope and wealth of information is simply amazing. Fourth, as anything written by Gasparov, this book is lucid and accessible even for a person without any special interest in versification as a separate branch of poetics. There are minor flaws, which any specialist in any particular language or verse might notice; but there is no one possessing this breadth of knowledge and such grasp of the matter. Last but not least, there are such kids' questions as "why poetry exists at all" and "what is the difference between poetry and prose"? "Serious" scholars are afraid to ask them or tackle them - more for fear of defeat than because of anything else; Gasparovs answers them elegantly and effortlessly. A very ambitious, and very successful opus.