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The Sonnet Contributions by Genn Everett, University of Tennessee at Martin, and Vince Gotera, University of Northern Iowa.

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Presentation on theme: "The Sonnet Contributions by Genn Everett, University of Tennessee at Martin, and Vince Gotera, University of Northern Iowa."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Sonnet Contributions by Genn Everett, University of Tennessee at Martin, and Vince Gotera, University of Northern Iowa

2 The Sonnet  A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter with a carefully patterned rhyme scheme. Other strict, short poetic forms occur in English poetry (the sestina, the villanelle, and the haiku, for example), but none has been used so successfully by so many different poets.

3 The Sonnet  The Italian, or Petrarchan sonnet, named after Francesco Petrarch ( ), the Italian poet, was introduced into English poetry in the early 16th century by Sir Thomas Wyatt ( ). Its fourteen lines break into an octave (or octet), which usually rhymes abbaabba, but which may sometimes be abbacddc or even (rarely) abababab; and a sestet, which may rhyme xyzxyz or xyxyxy, or any of the multiple variations possible using only two or three rhyme-sounds.

4 The Sonnet  The English or Shakespearean sonnet, developed first by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey ( ), consists of three quatrains and a couplet--that is, it rhymes abab cdcd efef gg.

5 A sonnet is  a lyric poem  consisting of fourteen lines  written in iambic pentameter  with a definite rhyme scheme  and a definite thought structure

6 A lyric poem  Deals with emotions, feelings, often love

7 Iambic pentameter consists of  five measures, units, or meters, of  iambs

8 An iamb is a metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable U followed by an accented syllable /. U / U / a gain U / U / U / U / im mor tal ize

9 Iambic pentameter U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U /  One day I wrote her name u pon the strand, U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U /  But came the waves and wash ed it a way: U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U /  A gain I wrote it with a sec ond hand, U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U / U /  But came the tide, and made my pains his prey Edmund Spenser, Amoretti, Sonnet 75Edmund Spenser, Amoretti, Sonnet

10 Rhyme scheme  Petrarchan (Italian) rhyme scheme: abba, abba, cd, cd, cd abba, abba, cd, cd, cd abba, abba, cde, cde abba, abba, cde, cde  Shakespearean (English, or Elizabethan) rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg

11 Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed: But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st, So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. A B A B C d C D E F E F G G

12 Thought structure  Octave/ sestet The octave, eight lines, presents a situation or idea. The sestet (sextet), six lines, responds, to the situation or idea in the octave.  Quatrain, quatrain, quatrain, couplet Each quatrain, four lines, describes and idea or situation which leads to a conclusion or response in the couplet, two lines.

13 The Sonnet  The form into which a poet puts his or her words is always something of which the reader ought to take conscious note. And when poets have chosen to work within such a strict form, that form and its strictures make up part of what they want to say. In other words, the poet is using the structure of the poem as part of the language act: we will find the "meaning" not only in the words, but partly in their pattern as well.

14 The Sonnet  The sonnet can be thematically divided into two sections:  The first presents the theme, raises an issue or doubt,  The second part answers the question, resolves the problem, or drives home the poem's point.  This change in the poem is called the turn and helps move forward the emotional action of the poem quickly.

15 The Sonnet  The Italian form, in some ways the simpler of the two, usually projects and develops a subject in the octet, then executes a turn at the beginning of the sestet, so that the sestet can in some way release the tension built up in the octave.

16 “Farewell Love and all thy laws for ever” Farewell Love and all thy laws for ever, a Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more; b Senec and Plato call me from thy lore b To perfect wealth my wit for to endeavour. a In blind error when I did persever, a Thy sharp repulse, that pricketh aye so sore, b Hath taught me to set in trifles no store b And scape forth, since liberty is lever. a Therefore farewell; go trouble younger hearts c And in me claim no more authority; d With idle youth go use thy property d And thereon spend thy many brittle darts. c For hitherto though I have lost all my time, e Me lusteth no longer rotten boughs to climb. e - Wyatt Devonshire (1557) - Wyatt Devonshire (1557)

17 The Sonnet  The Shakespearean sonnet has a wider range of possibilities. One pattern introduces an idea in the first quatrain, complicates it in the second, complicates it still further in the third, and resolves the whole thing in the final couplet.

18 “Sonnet 138” or “When My Love Swears that She is Made of Truth” When my love swears that she is made of truth a I do believe her, though I know she lies, b That she might think me some untutor'd youth, a Unlearned in the world's false subtleties. b Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, c Although she knows my days are past the best, d Simply I credit her false speaking tongue: c On both sides thus is simple truth suppress'd. d But wherefore says she not she is unjust? e And wherefore say not I that I am old? f O, love's best habit is in seeming trust, e And age in love loves not to have years told: f Therefore I lie with her and she with me, g And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be. g - William Shakespeare - William Shakespeare {First quatrain; note the puns and the intellectual games: [I know she lies, so I believe her so that she will believe me to be young and untutored]} {Second quatrain: [Well of course I know that she doesn't really think I'm young, but I have to pretend to believe her so that she will pretend that I'm young]} {Third quatrain: [so why don't we both fess up? because love depends upon trust and upon youth]} {Final couplet, and resolution: [we lie to ourselves and to each other, so that we may flatter ourselves that we are young, honest, and in love]. Note especially the puns.

19 The Sonnet  You can see how this form would attract writers of great technical skill who are fascinated with intellectual puzzles and intrigued by the complexity of human emotions, which become especially tangled when it comes to dealing with the sonnet's traditional subjects, love and faith.

20 The Sonnet  Pay close attention to line-end punctuation, especially at lines four, eight, and twelve, and to connective words like and, or, but, as, so, if, then, when, or which at the beginnings of lines (especially lines five, nine, and thirteen).

21 Review  The Italian, or Petrarchan sonnet: Fourteen linesFourteen lines Iambic pentameterIambic pentameter Consists of an octet (eight lines) of two envelope quatrainsConsists of an octet (eight lines) of two envelope quatrains Usually abba abba, Usually abba abba, Sometimes abba cddc, Sometimes abba cddc, Or rarely abab abab; Or rarely abab abab; The turn occurs at the end of the octet and is developed and closed in the sestet. The turn occurs at the end of the octet and is developed and closed in the sestet. And a sestet (six lines)And a sestet (six lines) Which may rhyme xyzxyz Which may rhyme xyzxyz Or xyxyxy Or xyxyxy

22 Review  The English or Shakespearean sonnet: Fourteen linesFourteen lines Iambic pentameterIambic pentameter Consists of three Sicilian quatrains (four lines)Consists of three Sicilian quatrains (four lines) And a heroic couplet (two lines)And a heroic couplet (two lines) Rhymes: abab cdcd efef ggRhymes: abab cdcd efef gg The turn comes at or near line 13The turn comes at or near line 13

23 Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed: But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st, So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. The octave describes the ways in which the summer’s day is inferior to the beloved. The sestet describes the ways in which the beloved is superior to the summer’s day.

24 Sonnet 29 When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself, and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possessed, Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate; For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings. For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings. The diction of the octave implies the speaker’s self-pity and depression. The sestet’s diction, in conrast, is joyful.

25 Sonnet 73 That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see'st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west; Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed, whereon it must expire, Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well, which thou must leave ere long. 1 st Quatrain Year - Fall 2 nd Quatrain Day - Twilight 3 rd Quatrain Fire - Coals “This” is ll.1-12


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