Enjambment

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Enjambment

 

in prosody, placement of the syntactic pause or stop at a position other than the rhythmic pause at the end of a line, hemistich, or stanza.

In classical verse there are three kinds of enjambment: rejet is the placement of the end of a clause or sentence at the beginning of the following line, contre-rejet the placement of the beginning of a sentence at the end of the preceding line, and double-rejet the placement of the beginning of a sentence at the end of one line and its conclusion at the start of the following line.

When enjambments are used sparingly, they give a strong intonational emphasis to the parts of the sentence severed by the line’s division. If they are numerous, they produce an intonation so close to that of prose that it almost obscures the verse rhythm; this is particularly true in dramatic verse. Classicism avoided enjambment; romanticism and some poetic schools of the 20th century cultivated it. An example of enjambment from modern poetry can be seen in the following lines of M. Tsvetaeva:

It matters not to me among which
People—I shall be bristling like a captive
Lion, or from what circle of people
I shall be excluded—inevitably …

REFERENCE

Shengeli, G. Tekhnika stikha. Moscow, 1960.

M. L. GASPAROV