Loading...

ENGL202: Cultural and Literary Expression in the English Renaissance

Unit 3: Poetry   We will now turn to poetic traditions in Renaissance England, examining various forms and modes that were particularly popular during the period, from the sonnet to the epic poem.  We will read a number of representative poems, conducting close readings in order to better understand the conventions and styles then in favor and relating these works to the Renaissance period more generally.

3.1 The Sonnet   3.1.1 The Rise of the Sonnet   - Reading: Gubernatix’s “Sonnets in English Literature” Link:  Gubernatix’s “Sonnets in English Literature”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this useful, well documented essay posted by one of the BBC’s h2g2 project’s authorized researchers for a concise survey of the rise of the sonnet form in English Renaissance literature and its subsequent loss of popularity.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Francesco Petrarch’s poem 264 from The Canzoniere (“I go thinking”) translated by A.S. Kline Link: Francesco Petrarch’s poem 264 (“I go thinking”) from The Canzoniere translated by A.S. Kline
    Also available on Kindle($9.99)
     
    Instructions:  14thCentury Italian poet Fransesco Petrarch is credited with mastering the sonnet form and inspiring the literary Renaissance that swept Europe and culminated in Shakespeare’s exploration of the form. Read this translation of one of Petrach’s sonnets posted by Petrach enthusiast Peter Sadlon.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso list to hunt” Link: Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso list to hunt” (PDF)
    Also available in Google Books (taken from James Yeowell’s The Poetical Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt)

    Instructions:  Read and (if you like) listen to this famous sonnet by one of the father’s of the English sonnet Thomas Wyatt who reputedly composed these lines while imprisoned for loving Anne Boleyn who married Henry VIII and was later executed.
     
    Terms of Use: This poem is in the public domain, and the HTML and PDF links above above will direct you to a Saylor Foundation copy of the poem that you are free to copy, download, and distribute.  Please note that the Google Books version above may be subject to different licensing and copyright terms, and that you may not be permitted to use or reuse the content contained therein without explicit written permission.

3.1.2 Form and Innovation: Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean Sonnets   - Reading: Nelson Miller’s “Basic Sonnet Forms” Link:  Nelson Miller’s “Basic Sonnet Forms”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this essay by Poet’s Corner editor Nelson Miller for an easy-to-understand comparison of the Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean sonnet forms with accompanying examples.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.3 Sir Philip Sidney: The Courtier and His Sonnets   - Reading: Professor Peter Sinclair’s “Background to Sir Philip Sidney and the Sonnet Tradition” Link:  Professor Peter Sinclair’s “Background to Sir Philip Sidney and the Sonnet Tradition”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this overview by Albertus Magnus College Professor Peter Sinclair for a better understanding of the adventure-filled, creative life of Sir Philip Sidney.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.4 The Sonnet Sequence   Note on the text: Astrophil and Stellais a technically complex sonnet sequence by Philip Sidney.  It presents a remarkably rich portrait of the emotional life of a poet in various stages of a romantic relationship with his mistress.

  • Reading: Sir Philip Sidney’s “Astrophil and Stella” Link:  The Poets’ Corner’s version of Sir Philip Sidney’s “Astrophil and Stella”(HTML)
    Also available in PDF
     
    Instructions:  Read the 30 sonnets which form the cycle of Sidney’s famous poem of love, life and death.  To view in PDF format, please follow the "PDF" link above; click on the file name "astrophel.pdf" to open the document.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2 Epic Poetry   3.2.1 Tradition of Epic Poetry   - Reading: Professor Hugh Blair’s “Lecture XLII: Epic Poetry” and “Lecture XLIII: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; Virgil's Aeneid”

Link:  Michigan State University’s versions of Professor Hugh
Blair’s “[Lecture XLII: Epic
Poetry](http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ecco/004786433.0001.003/1:11?rgn=div1;view=fulltext)”(HTML)
and “[Lecture XLIII: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; Virgil's
Aeneid](http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ecco/004786433.0001.003/1:12?rgn=div1;view=fulltext)”(HTML)  
    
 Instructions:  Read these two lectures taken from the *Belles
Lettres* by the celebrated Scottish scholar Hugh Blair (1718-1800)
delivered while he was a teacher at the University of Edinburgh for
an excellent overview of the Epic Poetry tradition and a brief
discourse on two of ancient Greece’s masters of the form.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.2 Italian Influence: Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso   - Reading: Excerpt from Ludovico Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso” Link:  Internet Sacred Text Archive’s version of excerpts from Ludovico Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso”(HTML)
Public Domain
 
Instructions:  Read the brief introduction and then click on “Canto I” to read the “Argument” through stanza VI for a sampling of the influential Italian poet’s style.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.3 Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene: Allegory, Style, and Form   - Reading: The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Volume III. Renascence [sic] and Reformation. Chapter XI. The Poetry of Spenser. Section 11. “Orlando Furioso” Link:  Bartleby.com’s version of The Cambridge History of English and American Literature’s Orlando Furioso(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this exploration of the manner in which Spenser was directly influenced by Aristo’s epic taken from the 18 volume work that came out between 1907 and 1921 and redefined the study of English and American literature.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Volume III. Renascence [sic] and Reformation. Chapter XI. The Poetry of Spenser. Section 9. “The Faerie Queene” Link:  Bartleby.com’s version of The Cambridge History of English and American Literature’s The Faerie Queene(HTML)
     
    Instructions:  Read this excellent analysis of Spenser’s most famous work taken from the 18 volume work that came out between 1907 and 1921 and redefined the study of English and American literature.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queen – Book II, Canto X Link:  University of Oregon’s version of Faerie Queen – Book II, Canto X (HTML)
    Also available in PDF, iBooks (Free)
     
    Instructions:  Scroll down to Canto X for a history of the kings of Britain including that of “King Leyr” – the literary inspiration for Shakespeare’s “King Lear”.  To view in PDF format, please follow the "PDF" link above; scroll down the list of authors to Edmund Spenser, and select "The Faerie Queene"
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.4 John Milton’s Paradise Lost: Religion, Imagination, and Language   - Reading: The Norton Anthology’s “Paradise Lost in context: An Overview” Link:  The Norton Anthology’s Paradise Lost in context: An Overview”(HTML)
 
Instructions:  Read this superb summary of Milton’s work as well as the cultural and theological basis for its composition and thematic structure.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: John Milton’s “Paradise Lost – Book I” Link:  Dartmouth College’s version of John Milton’sParadise Lost – Book I”(HTML)
    Also available in PDF, Google Books, iBooks (Free)
       
    Instructions:  Read the Argument and Book I of Milton’s famous epic poem.  To view in PDF format, please follow the "PDF" link above; select either of the files in the box "Download Free eBook".
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.5 Marlowe’s Hero and Leander: Greek Mythology in Epyllion Form   - Reading: The Poetry Foundation's version of Christopher Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" Link:  The Poetry Foundation's version of Christopher Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entirety of this poem.  Note that it
is written in "epyllion" or "little epic" form.  (For more on this
poetic form, please refer to the reading in the next resource box. 
Scholars have considered this poem particularly interesting for its
"meta-poetic" narrative, or its treatment of the nature and status
of literature.  In other words, this is a poem about poetry -- an
art form about art itself.  Ask yourself what Marlowe is suggesting
about cultural expression, and consider the ways in which the form
of the poem plays into this commentary.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Luminarium's "Epyllion" Link:  Luminarium's "Epyllion" (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read this brief entry on the epyllion form.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3 Emergence of Metaphysical Poetry   3.3.1 Wit, Stylistic Maneuvers, and Other Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry   - Reading: Wikispaces: ovms-jasb’s “Definition of Metaphysical Poetry” Link: Wikispaces: ovms-jasb’s “Definition of Metaphysical Poetry” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this short definition of metaphysical poetry and description of its chief characteristics. 
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License. It is attributed to ovms-jasb.

3.3.2 Metaphysical Poetry as a Reaction to Existing 16th-Century Verse   3.3.3 Typical Themes and Concerns   - Reading: Sir Herbert J.C. Grierson’s “Introduction” to Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the Seventeenth Century: Donne to Butler Link:  Bartleby.com’s version of Sir Herbert J.C. Grierson’s “Introduction”(HTML) to Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the Seventeenth Century:  Donne to Butler
 
Instructions:  This classic essay by noted Scottish literary scholar Sir Herbert J.C. Grierson provides historical context and dissects the works of several metaphysical poets. Note – this reading also addresses 3.3.4
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.4 The Figure of the Cavalier   3.3.5 Principle Metaphysical Poets: John Donne, Andrew Marvell, and Henry Vaughan   - Reading: John Donne’s “The Flea”, Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” and Henry Vaughan’s “To Amoret gone from him” Links:  Luminarium’s versions of John Donne’s “The Flea”(HTML, also available on Google Books), Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”(HTML, also available in PDF) and Henry Vaughan’s “To Amoret gone from him”(HTML)
 
Also available on Google Books
 
Instructions:  Read these representative poems from the leading metaphysical poets of the English Renaissance
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4 Other Lyrical Poetry Experiments   3.4.1 The Tradition of Lyrical Poetry   - Reading: Professor Mark Damen’s “Greek Lyric Poetry” Link:  Utah State University-Logan:  Professor Mark Damen’s “Greek Lyric Poetry”(HTML) from online course materials
 
Instructions:  Read this brief but thorough introduction to the tradition of Greek lyric poetry and its legacy
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.2 Concepts of Love and Emotion in the Renaissance   - Reading: Dr. Amy Schmitter’s “Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Theories of the Emotions” Link:  Dr. Amy Schmitter’s “Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Theories of the Emotions” (HTML) in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 Instructions:  From the page linked above, select  the link for (or
scroll down to) item number 7, “Renaissance and
16<sup>th</sup>Century Discussions”, to read Dr. Schmitter’s
analysis of several leading Italian Renaissance thinkers’ views of
emotions.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.3 The Pastoral Elegy   - Reading: John Milton’s Lycidas Link:  Dartmouth College’s version of John Milton’s “Lycidas”(HTML)
Also available on Google BooksPDF, iBooks (Free)
 
Instructions:  Read the introduction to the work at the bottom of the page and then the complete poem as reproduced here.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.
   
Note on the text: Milton’s “Lycidas” is a pastoral elegy, or an expression of grief at the loss of a friend.  Highly stylized and conventional, the form would remain popular amongst later Romantic and Victorian poets.