Phrasing Quirk from Medieval Lit?

Forums Notes & Queries Phrasing Quirk from Medieval Lit?

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      Jeffers’ narratives are dotted with doubling to emphasize (mostly adjectives). That is, he will write “it was sad and sad” or “it was long and long.” “Long, long,” “more and more,” and “fewer and fewer” are the only common contemporary usages of this phraseology I can think of.

      As it happens, I was reading Evangeline Walton’s retellings of the Mabinogion while churning through RJ’s poems for a paper, and she uses that same construction, in a book published in 1936. Then I found it in Mary Stewart’s Merlin novels (196?-197?).

      Now it’s possible that Walton and Stewart picked up the usage from reading RJ’s poetry. neither writer displays any more definite influences. But here are some other, more likely explanations:

      1. That RJ picked up the usage from John Cowper Powys, who was also, later, a close friend of Walton and undoubtedly read by Stewart.
      2. That he picked it up from a medieval source, most likely Malory, though Walton doesn’t seem to have much interest in Arthurian material.
      3. That it’s not odd at all, and my brain is getting fuzzy.

      It will take a linguist or a medievalist (that is to say, a philologist!) to answer. Any out there?

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Mick.
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