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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Paraphrasing the Sonnets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1857  Monday, 1 November 1999.

From:           Heidi Webb Arnold <
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Date:           Saturday, 30 Oct 1999 14:01:33 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 10.1810 Re: Paraphrasing the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1810 Re: Paraphrasing the Sonnets

This post is a week or so out of step, sorry.  I wanted to respond to P.
Nourpanah's post, and to some of the other scholars who had posted
regarding criticism on the Sonnets.  I hope to redress what was an
unhelpful comment about the way poems shine lights in rooms, etc.  I'll
try to be brief, because my main purpose is to thank those who have
posted to this thread, your insights have been a helpful corrective to
my poorly considered rant.

I just want to cut and paste my part of the discussion with the
following edit:  the terrain between criticism and poetry is really
difficult to negotiate.  And there is intervening terrain between the
two forms.   I'm happy to say that at my home institution,  I have had
the privilege of working with people who understand that difficulty.
(But I don't understand it yet!) Not all kinds of criticism are so well
attuned.  I don't think criticism can really explicate the words in
Shakespeare's Sonnets, but that's just my own skepticism I guess.  I'm
more comfortable with contexts in other sources that have similar
language so they sound like the poem in some way.  A method that needs
work to be more scholarly.

I'd be really interested in hearing more about the tradition of poetry
scholarship in Iran.  Are there traditions of criticism that deal with
reading out loud?  What about criticism of "the self" in the Sonnets?
What about structural criticism of the sonnet form and its genesis?  I'm
not asking for references, I'm thinking of things I've read that are
interesting, and wondering how other systems of reading the Sonnets
might differ.  Or if someone would like the references to these topics,
I'll dig them out of my files.

Cheers,
Heidi

P. Nourpanah wrote:

I'm afraid your mail, eloquent as it was, left me
> unconvinced. There are some phrases in the sonnets which I just don't
> understand, and no amount of reading out loud is going to help me,
> whereas sound scholarship, I believe (and hope) will. And passing
> "A"-level English literature with a very "crusty", thorough and
> dedicated English teacher, to whom I am eternally grateful, infused my
> love of words with a desire for as much specific information as possible
> on every turn of phrase and nuance of speech.
 

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