Immanuel of Rome established in his sonnets (the first example of the genre in Hebrew) a metrical system which served to transpose Hebrew poetry from Eastern to Western poetics. Using the two sections of a classical quantitative metre ('hashalem') separately, and regarding each one as an independent sequence of phonetic syllables, he produced two syllabic lines: one of 12 syllables with a masculine ending, and one of 11 syllables with a feminine ending, the second serving as an equivalent to the all-important 'endecasillabo-piano'. According to Italian norm he rhymed together lines of one kind only. The system became popular in the 1500s (with the renaissance of the Hebrew sonnet; see Bregman, Tarbiẕ LVI, pp. 109-123), replacing the syllabic and non-quantitative metre of Moses Rieti already in practice. This 'reaction', much debated in research, should be explained mainly by the need for a Hebrew endecasillabo-piano which Immanuel provided for while Rieti did not. Immanuel's system has developed, detaching itself gradually from the quantitative tradition. This process was completed in the poetry of the Haskala. However, the typical lines produced by that school, whose exact origin has been a puzzle, are, in fact, the very lines established by Immanuel (the late 13 syllabic line being the former 12 syllabic, plus one syllable, appended to form a feminine ending). Immanuel's system is based on the same principles which became elemental in modern Hebrew versification: the same main rules of accentuation, the same method of rhyming, the same nature of rhyme, the same schemes of rhyming, etc. In Immanuel's system the Sephardic negina became for the first time a poetic law. Prominent modern poets — Tchernichowsky, L. Goldberg, Alterman — who were familiar with Mahbarot Immanuel use metrical techniques employed in this early masterpiece. Never completely presented in theory and much neglected by research, Immanuel's metrical system has been alive and fertile in poetic practice for many generations. It may well continue so in the future.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Metrical System of Immanuel of Rome|
|Number of pages||40|
|Journal||תרביץ: רבעון למדעי היהדות|
|State||Published - 1989|