The Sound of William Barnes's Dialect Poems
This series, developed from Tom Burton’s groundbreaking study, William Barnes’s Dialect Poems: A Pronunciation Guide (The Chaucer Studio Press, 2010), sets out to demonstrate for the first time what all of Barnes’s dialect poems would have sounded like in the pronunciation of his own time and place. Every poem is accompanied by a facing-page phonemic transcript and by an audio recording freely available from this website. The free PDF includes links to the audio files as well.
About the author
T L Burton is an Emeritus Professor in the Discipline of English and Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, where he taught for nearly forty years. He is the author of William Barnes’s Dialect Poems: A Pronunciation Guide (The Chaucer Studio Press, 2010), and co-editor, with K. K. Ruthven, of The Complete Poems of William Barnes, 3 volumes (Oxford University Press). He has spoken on Barnes at several international conferences and at more than two dozen universities in the UK, USA, and Australia, and has put on readings from Barnes’s poems at four Adelaide Fringe Festivals (2009–2012).
'[This] book is a wonder in the many things it does and in doing them all well ... Burton has made a serious contribution to freeing those [poems] in dialect from a dismissible specialness ... His care is a good foundation for treating the poems as poems should be treated — read, enjoyed, and pondered.'
Marcia Karp in Essays in Criticism
'Burton’s methodology is strictly and soundly philological ... It is very difficult to reproduce an accurate historical pronunciation in a natural-sounding way, but Burton’s lively readings of the poems achieve this ... William Barnes’s Dialect Poems: A Pronunciation Guide is a very welcome addition to the growing field of scholarship on 19th-century English.'
Joan C. Beal in Anglia
'Professor Burton’s Pronunciation Guide is a landmark in Barnes studies and its appearance is timely ... it is remarkably readable ... Students of Barnes’s work and, indeed, all readers of his poetry, will in future be indebted to this very comprehensive Pronunciation Guide.'
Frances Austin-Jones, Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society