1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Stanza
< 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 25
See also Stanza on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.
STANZA (Low Lat. stantia, Ital. stantia or stanza), properly an apartment or storey in a house, the term being hence adopted for literary purposes to denote a complete section, of recurrent form, in a poem. A stanza is a strophe of two or more lines, usually rhyming, but always recurring, the idea of fixed repetition of form being essential to it. At the close of the 16th century the word stanza began to be used with an adjective to designate a particular species, as the "Spenserian stanza," because Spenser had invented that nine-lined form for his Faerie Queen; or "Ariosto's stanza" as Drayton described what is now known as ottava rima, because Ariosto had written prominently in it. By "stanzaic law" is meant the law which regulates the form and succession of stanzas. The stanza is a modern development of the strophe of the ancients, modified by the requirements of rhyme. (See Verse; Strophe; Spenserian Stanza.)
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