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Lecture Two. THE English Renaissance: Shakespeare and the sonnet A Vocabulary for Poetry. The English Renaissance: 16-17 th c. A ‘rebirth’ of culture after the devastations of the Black Death The development of the printing press 1450 by Gutenberg

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lecture two

Lecture Two

THE English Renaissance: Shakespeare and the sonnet

A Vocabulary for Poetry

the english renaissance 16 17 th c
The English Renaissance: 16-17th c
  • A ‘rebirth’ of culture after the devastations of the Black Death
  • The development of the printing press 1450 by Gutenberg
  • Increased trade to different parts of the world
  • A rise in nationalism
  • 1521, Luther makes a break from the Church of Rome and the Reformation begins: individual and religious freedoms, but also wars of religion
  • 1533 Henry VIII breaks with the Church of Rome and England becomes split between Catholics and Protestants.
  • 1558-1603 Elizabeth 1. A time of prosperity, peace and fostering of the arts
writers of the english renaissance
Writers of the English Renaissance

Poets, Playwrights, Philosophers:

Thomas Wyatt

Ben Johnson

John Donne

Philip Sidney

Andrew Marvell

Queen Elizabeth

Edmund Spencer The Faerie Queen

Christopher Marlowe Dr Faustus

John Webster The Duchess of Malfi

Thomas More Utopia

renaissance writers
Renaissance Writers

John Donne


Poet, essayist, satirist,

cleric in Church of England

renaissance writers1
Renaissance Writers

Andrew Marvell


Metaphysical poet and politician

‘To His Coy Mistriss’


william shakespeare
William Shakespeare



Born in Stratford-upon-Avon.


Romances: Romeo and Juliet,

Comedies: Twelfth Night, As

You Like It

Tragedies: Macbeth, King Lear

Histories: Henry IV, Richard II

the shakespearean sonnet
The Shakespearean Sonnet

Themes of love, fear of mortality, urging of procreation, beauty

Wrote 154 sonnets, published in 1609

Shakespearean sonnet:

Comprised of 3 quatrians (group of 4 lines) plus a rhyming couplet - 14 lines.

Contains a ‘volta’ or turn, usually at the end of the 3rd quatrain where poem begins to move towards resolve

Rhyming scheme: ababcdcdefefgg

shall i compare thee to a summer s day
‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’

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 wand'rest 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.


(4 mins)

a vocabulary for poetry
A vocabulary for poetry
  • Repetition: Of words, images, ideas
  • Alliteration: a repeated sound at the beginning of word
  • Syntax: the ordering of words within a sentence
  • Stanza: line division within a poem
  • Line: differentiate from grammatical sentence
a vocabulary for poetry1
A vocabulary for poetry
  • Metre (rhythm): eg iambic pentameter (5 metrical feet per line: weak stress/ strong stress): ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’
  • Rhyme: sound repetitions at the end of words/lines
  • Consonance: repeated syllable sounds, ‘slip,slap’
  • Assonance: repeated vowel sounds ‘The Lotus blooms’
a vocabulary for poetry2
A Vocabulary for poetry
  • Enjambment: where the grammatical sense of a sentence/phrase runs on from one line to the next
  • Caesura: where a poetic line is end-stopped in the middle
  • Stanza: any grouping of poetic lines
  • Quatrain: 4 lines within a sonnet
a vocabulary for poetry3
A vocabulary for poetry
  • Octave: 8 lines within Petrarchan sonnet
  • Sestet: 6 lines
  • Rhyming couplet: conclusion of sonnet
  • Volta: the point of change within sonnet
poetic forms
Poetic Forms
  • Sonnet: 14 lines
  • Ballad: tells a story, links to music
  • Lyric: short, subjective/personal, also linked to song
  • Epic: long narrative, usually with heroic subject matter
poetic forms1
Poetic forms
  • Villanelle: cycling repetitions of lines
  • Free Verse: no strict metrical or rhyme patterns
  • Web site for literary terms: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms.html