Work in prose that has some of the technical or literary qualities of poetry (such as regular rhythm, definitely patterned structure, or emotional or imaginative heightening) but that is set on a page as prose. The form took its name from Charles Baudelaire's Little Poems in Prose (1869). Other writers of prose poems include, in the 19th century, Stéphane Mallarmé, Arthur Rimbaud, Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, and Rainer Maria Rilke, and in the 20th, Amy Lowell (in her “polyphonic prose”) and such contemporary poets as John Ashbery.
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Prose generally lacks the formal structure of meter or rhyme that is often found in poetry. Although some works of prose may happen to contain traces of metrical structure or versification, a conscious blend of the two forms of literature is known as a prose poem. Similarly, poetry with less of the common rules and limitations of verse is known as free verse. Poetry is considered to be artificially developed ("The best words in the best order"), whereas prose is thought to be less constructed and more reflective of ordinary speech. Pierre de Ronsard, the French poet, said that his training as a poet had proved to him that prose and poetry were mortal enemies. In Molière's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain asks something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master says to him, "Sir, there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse". Jourdain replies, "By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that."
In fiction, prose can take on many forms. Skilled authors can alter how they use prose throughout a book to suggest different moods and ideas. A thriller often consists of short, "punchy" sentences made up of equally short words, suggesting very rapid actions to heighten the effect of a very fast-moving plot. Conversely, longer sentences can be used to slow down the action of a novel.
Molly Lynde-Recchia, Prose, Verse and Truth-Telling in the Thirteenth Century: an Essay on Form and Function in Selected Texts, Accompanied by an Edition of the Prose 'Thebes' as Found in the 'Histoire ancienne jusqu'a Cesar'.(Book Review)
Mar 22, 2003; The Edward C. Armstrong Monographs on Medieval Literature 10 (Lexington, Ky: French Forum, 2000). 200 pp. ISBN 9-917058-92-5....