Poems, as aesthetic objects, generate a subjective experience, which can be different for different readers. In this paper, we propose a method to quantify these subjective experiences. We gave participants three parallel excerpts and asked them to describe, in free text, the perceived emotive qualities of these excerpts. The descriptions were analysed quantitatively according to the dimensions of the Valence-Arousal-Dominance model of emotion. With the help of additional rating tasks and a structural theory of phonetic symbolism, we attribute the perceived emotive qualities to an interaction between the meaning of words, patterns of alliteration, and metric deviation.
- Sound symbolism
- cognitive poetics
- dimensional models of emotion
- reader’s response
- sound iconicity