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Renaissance Poetry. Sonnet, Pastoral , Cavalier and Metaphysical. Sonnet. Definition: A fourteen line verse, written in Iambic pentameter. The two types (Italian/Petrarchan or English/Shakespearean) of sonnets are determined by their rhyme schemes. History of the Sonnet Form.

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renaissance poetry

Renaissance Poetry

Sonnet, Pastoral , Cavalier and Metaphysical

  • Definition: A fourteen line verse, written in Iambic pentameter.
  • The two types (Italian/Petrarchan or English/Shakespearean) of sonnets are determined by their rhyme schemes.
history of the sonnet form
History of the Sonnet Form
  • The sonnet dates back to Italy in the thirteenth century. Petrarch, in the fourteenth century, “raised the sonnet to its greatest perfection and so gave it, for English readers, his own name. “ – Hugh Holman, A Handbook to Literature
  • The form was introduced to England by Sir Thomas Wyatt, who translated Petrarchan sonnets and left over thirty examples of his own in English.
  • Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, an associate of Wyatt’s, is important as an early modifier of the Italian form.
history of the sonnet form4
History of the Sonnet Form
  • Gradually the Italian form changed, modified by Surrey.
  • Since Shakespeare attained fames for the “greatest poems of this modified type,” his name has been given to this form.
petrarchan italian sonnet
Petrarchan / Italian Sonnet
  • The first eight lines are called an octave. In these lines the poet states problem or raises a question.
    • A
    • B
    • B
    • A
    • A
    • B
    • B
    • A
petrarchan italian sonnet6
Petrarchan / Italian Sonnet
  • The last six lines are a sestet. In these lines the poet tries to solve the problem or states a resolution to the problem.
  • C C C
  • D D D
  • E OR C OR D
  • C D C
  • D E E
  • E E E
shakespearean english sonnet
  • This form of the sonnet begins with three quatrains (set of four lines). Each quatrain states part of the problem or question.
  • A C E
  • B D F
  • A C E
  • B D F
shakespearean english sonnet8
  • The last two lines are a couplet (two successive lines which rhyme). In these lines the poet tries to solve the problem or states a resolution to the problem.
  • G
  • G
pastoral poetry
Pastoral Poetry
  • "Pastoral" (from pastor, Latin for "shepherd") refers to a literary work dealing with shepherds and rustic life; it presents an idealized rather than realistic view of rustic life.
  • Common topics of pastoral poetry include love and seduction; the value of poetry; death and mourning; the corruption of the city or court vs. the "purity" of idealized country life; politics (generally treated satirically: the "shepherds" critique society or easily identifiable political figures).
cavalier poetry
Cavalier Poetry
  • Definition: light-hearty, witty, and highly polished verse written by men of the court
  • The term "cavalier poets" is used to denote a group of poets closely associated with the court of Charles I. The best representatives are Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, and Richard Lovelace. (Andrew Marvell is sometimes associated with the cavaliers and sometimes with metaphysical poets).
  • They were also known as "sons of Ben" because they spent a lot of time with Ben Jonson, after whose poetry they modeled their own.
cavalier poetry11
Cavalier Poetry
  • The Cavaliers preferred more straightforward expression. They valued elegance, and were part of a refined, courtly culture.
  • Their strength was the short lyric poem, and a favorite theme was carpe diem, "seize the day.”
  • A secondary theme within Cavalier poetry was loyalty and honor.
metaphysical poetry
Metaphysical Poetry
  • The term metaphysical was applied to a style of 17th Century poetry first by John Dryden and later by Dr. Samuel Johnson because of the highly intellectual and often abstruse imagery involved.
  • Chief among the metaphysical poets are John Donne, George Herbert, Richard Crashaw, Andrew Marvell, and Henry Vaughan.
  • Metaphysical poetry represents a revolt against the conventions of Elizabethan love poetry and especially the typical Petrarchan conceits (like rosy cheeks, eyes like stars, etc.).
metaphysical poetry13
Metaphysical Poetry
  • While their poetry is widely varied (the metaphysical poets are not a thematic or even a structural school), there are some common characteristics:
  • 1. Argumentative structure. The poem often engages in a debate or persuasive presentation; the poem is an intellectual exercise as well as or instead of an emotional effusion.
  • Acute realism. The poem often reveals a psychological analysis; images advance the argument rather than being ornamental. There is a learned style of thinking and writing; the poetry is often highly intellectual.
metaphysical poetry14
Metaphysical Poetry
  • Metaphysical Conceit. The poem contains unexpected, even striking or shocking analogies, offering elaborate parallels between apparently dissimilar things.
    • The analogies are drawn from widely varied fields of knowledge, not limited to traditional sources in nature or art.
    • Analogies from science, mechanics, housekeeping, business, philosophy, astronomy, etc. are common.
    • These "conceits" reveal a play of intellect, often resulting in puns, paradoxes, and humorous comparisons.
    • Unlike other poetry where the metaphors usually remain in the background, here the metaphors sometimes take over the poem and control it.