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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: June ::
Re: Word Play in the *Sonnets*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0512.  Monday, 26 June 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Howell Chickering <
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        Date:   Sunday, 25 Jun 1995 16:32:33 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0510  Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*
 
(2)     From:   Tom Connolly <
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        Date:   Sunday, 25 Jun 1995 18:55:06 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0510 Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*:
 
(3)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
        Date:   Monday, 26 Jun 1995 00:47:37 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0510  Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Howell Chickering <
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Date:           Sunday, 25 Jun 1995 16:32:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0510  Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0510  Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*
 
Yes, Carole Hamilton, Helen Vendler has written eloquently, in an essay that I
would suspect is genetically related to the talk you heard, about her 40+ year
love-affair with reading the *Sonnets*; her quasi-auto-biog. essay is entitled
"Reading, Stage by Stage: Shakespeare's *Sonnets*,' in *Shakespeare Reread; The
Texts in New Contexts*, ed. Russ McDonald (Ithaca and London: Cornell Univ.
Press, 1994), pp. 23-41.
 
The next essay in this terrific collection (McDonald is a splendid writer on
Shakes., himself) is equally pertinent to your interest in word-play in the
*Sonnets*: Stephen Booth, "Close Readiing without Readings," pp. 42-55.
 
Howell Chickering
Amherst College

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Connolly <
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 >
Date:           Sunday, 25 Jun 1995 18:55:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0510 Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*:
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0510 Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*:
 
Helen Vendler has just published a book on them.  She has taught them
for several years.
 
Tom Connolly

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
Date:           Monday, 26 Jun 1995 00:47:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0510  Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0510  Q: Word Games in the *Sonnets*
 
Dear Carole Hamilton--Vendler has a pretty famous article on Sonnet #128 (I
think, the one about "music" and "jacks") and also read here last year from her
sonnets (I have "bootlegged" tape) and said she will have a book out on them. I
find her interesting but the CHELSEA HOUSE Harold Bloom, ed volume devoted to
the sonnets deals with "word play" on another level--- as does Sigurd
Burckhardt's chapter to his SHAKESPEAREAN MEANING--which actually treats Sonnet
116--the one you quote--in a way that borrows concepts from the theatre for its
terms---"Fool" and "Priest"--though this meta-level may go beyond "word play" I
think the categories actually fuse at a certain point---For instance, take a
look at the "agreement problem" in SONNET 8 between singular noun and plural
verb (or vice versa-- I forget)--That "word play" is actually integral to the
thematic meaning about "singleness as plurality"--and the "meaning" of that
does NOT just resonate on the vulgar level (in which we're told the whole poem
is an exhortation to a "fair youth") but actually becomes a self-reflective act
about the creative process itself (though I don't mean to deny the existence of
the "vulgar level" of meaning as well)---Chris Stroffolino
 

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