2 The SonnetItalian origin: The word sonnet comes from Italian sonetto, meaning "little sound" or "little song."Lyric poems14 linesIambic pentameter: U / U / U / U / U / (10 syllables per line)Use of conceits: a metaphor that the poet usually extends and elaborates throughout the course of his poem.Poets chronicled stories of unrequited love in sonnet sequences, which were many sonnets tied together with the thread of narrativeWhat is a sonnet?Before asking students to try to figure out these complex poems for themselves, teachers should outline the defining characteristics of the sonnet and its literary tradition. They may want to emphasize the following points:The word "sonnet" comes from Italian "sonetto," meaning "little sound" or "little song."The sonnet is a fourteen line poem.The sonnet was written in Iambic Pentameter (Each line contains ten syllables, five of which are usually stressed). (A mini-lesson in poetic metrics may be given to higher level students; For lower level students, it might be wise to skip this difficult concept.)Sonnets had to follow a set rhyme scheme. In the Renaissance, three rhyme schemes were popular (to be discussed later).Poets made use of conceits in their sonnets. A conceit is a kind of a metaphor that the poet usually extends and elaborates throughout the course of his poem.Sonnets are love poems. In the Renaissance, composing sonnets was a key part to the tradition of courtly love. A gentleman would write one of these poems to a particular young lady he wanted to impress. Since the sonnet was difficult to write (it had to adhere to strict rules in length, rhyming and metrics), it was sort of linguistic circus act a gentleman performed in service for his lover. In the tradition of courtly love, the heroine of the sonnet was usually out of reach, unattainable. Conventionally, the sonnet was a record of unrequited love.Poets chronicled stories of unrequited love in sonnet sequences, which were many sonnets tied together with the thread of narrative.The first sonnets were written in Italy in the Thirteenth Century. The most famous of the Italian sonneteers were Dante and Petrarch who wrote entire sonnet sequences in the Italian vernacular.The Italian sonnet was introduced into English poetry by Wyatt. In the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, English writers began to imitate their earlier Italian counterparts by writing sonnets in the English vernacular. The most important sonnet sequences written in English were written by Edmund Spenser (Amoretti , published in 1595), Sir Philip Sidney (Astrophel and Stella, published in 1582), and William Shakespeare (his untitled sequence of 154 sonnets was published in 1609). Thus, by the reign of Queen Elizabeth, sonnet production became the vogue for its aspiring writersCheck out: Sonnet Central
3 Development of the Sonnet The first sonnets were written in Italy in the Thirteenth Century. The most famous of the Italian sonneteers were Dante and Petrarch who wrote entire sonnet sequences in the Italian vernacular.The Italian sonnet was introduced into English poetry by Sir Thomas Wyatt.In the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, English writers began to imitate their earlier Italian counterparts by writing sonnets in the English vernacular.The most important sonnet sequences written in English were written by Edmund Spenser (Amoretti , published in 1595), Sir Philip Sidney (Astrophel and Stella, published in 1582), and William Shakespeare (his untitled sequence of 154 sonnets was published in 1609).By the reign of Queen Elizabeth, sonnet production became the vogue for England’s aspiring writers
4 English or Shakespearean SONNETSItalian or PetrarchanStanzas:Octave – first 8 lines: presents problemSestet – last 6 lines: presents resolution of or meditation upon problemRhyme:Octave – abba abbaSestet -- cdecde or cdccdc or cddcdd or variationEnglish or ShakespeareanStanzas:3 Quatrains – each presents similar imagesHeroic Couplet – presents a paradoxical resolutionRhyme:Quatrains – abab cdcd efefCouplet --gg
6 The English Renaissance Wyatt created his sonnets during a period of sweeping artistic and cultural change, in the beginning of an era known as the English Renaissance.The English Renaissance was dominated by literature, whereas much of the continental European Renaissance was dominated by art and architecture.By the latter part of the sixteenth century, English literature was characterized by Christian beliefs; in particular, the conflicts created by the dissolving of the Roman Catholic Church and the establishment of the Anglican Church by Henry VIII received much focus.Wyatt's poetry predates this focus on Christianity, instead showing the influence of the Italian Renaissance and the work of Petrarch.
7 King Henry VIII 1491 – 1547King Henry VIII Portrait by Hans Holbein. Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
8 Henry VIIIHenry VIII, was immediately popular upon becoming king in 1509.He was tall and handsome, with the stature of an athlete, and the people loved him.As Henry VII was dying, he urged his son to marry Catherine of Aragon, who had been married to Henry's older brother, Arthur, before his death.Marrying Catherine would maintain the nation's alliance with Spain, which was politically important to England's security.Six weeks after his father's death, Henry VIII married Catherine, who became queen.
10 English SonnetsIn the court of Henry VIII, a group of poets arose who would make significant contributions to the development of English literature.Chief among these courtly poets were Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.With their translations of Petrarch's work, Wyatt and Surrey are responsible for introducing the sonnet form into English.Wyatt and Surrey also wrote their own sonnets in English, establishing a poetic form and a poetic tradition.Although its rules of order and arrangement are strict, the sonnet required the sort of discipline that prepared poets for more creative, original works.In polishing their own writing and technique, they also polished English as a fit language for poetic endeavors.
12 Sir Thomas WyattWyatt is considered the first of the great Elizabethan poets.His experiments with new formats, especially regarding meter and measure, were very influential in inspiring the great English poets who followed later in the 16th century, such as Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, and, of course, William Shakespeare.Wyatt did not publish his poems, but he did circulate them within the Tudor court, where they were read and enjoyed.
13 Sir Thomas WyattWyatt can be identified as the father of modern English poetry: with his translations from Petrarch the tradition in English begins.He uses typical Petrarchan conventions (the lover as a ship tossed on the seas of love; the lover alternately freezing and burning hot, among them];His language and syntax are more difficult, making his sonnets a bit tougher to "crack."He generally translates from Italian models, which means his themes or issues don't usually originate with him;He generally follows the rhyme scheme abba cddc effe ggHe often presents the two sides of love--physical and spiritual--but no union between them, which makes his work slightly different from the Petrarchan mold.Thomas Wyatt was born at Allington Castle in Kent, and educated at St John's College, Cambridge. While travelling as a diplomat for Henry VIII he developed his interest in Continental poetry; he was the first English poet to use the Italian forms of the sonnet and terza rima, and the French rondeau. His translation of the Penitential Psalms is based on a version by the Italian poet Pietro Aretino.In the course of his career Wyatt served his King Henry in a variety of offices, including those of Marshal of Calais, Sheriff of Kent and Ambassador to Spain, and he was also jailed several times. His first imprisonment, in 1534, was for brawling; two years later his relationship with the disgraced Anne Boleyn resulted in a short spell in the Tower of London. Thomas and Anne had been lovers before her marriage to Henry, and his sense of loss at their separation forms the subject of the famous sonnet 'Whoso List To Hunt'.Wyatt was restored to favour and knighted in 1537, and spent the next two years on his embassy to the court of Charles V of Spain. In 1540 however, his trusted patron Thomas Cromwell was executed, leaving him without an ally at court. The following year Wyatt was accused of treason by his enemies and imprisoned in the Tower once more. He managed to secure his own release but died of a fever soon afterwards.
14 “Whoso List to Hunt” Anne Boleyn Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind, a But as for me, alas, I may no more; b The vain travail hath wearied me so sore, b I am of them that furthest come behind a 5 Yet may I by no means my wearied mind a Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore b Fainting I follow; I leave off therefore, b Since in a net I seek to hold the wind a Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt, c 10 As well as I, may spend his time in vain d And graven with diamonds in letters plain, d There is written her fair neck round about, c "Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am, e And wild for to hold, though I seem tame." eSir Thomas WyattAnne Boleyn