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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: August ::
Re: Sonnets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1359  Monday 2 August 1999.

From:           Clifford Stetner  <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 Aug 1999 18:38:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Sonnets
Comment:        SHK 10.1336 Re: Sonnets

>Karen Peterson-Kranz wrote:
<snip>Arthur Marotti's "'Love is Not
>Love'... argues that not only Shakespeare, but that a great many of the
>>Elizabethan sonnet sequences, were in fact directed to Elizabeth.

While he does say:

"In Elizabethan England, a female monarch, whose unmarried state
preserved her symbolic and real value in both domestic and international
transactions, specifically encouraged the use of an amorous vocabulary
by her courtiers to express ambition and its vicissitudes."

and alludes to references to her in the work of Sidney, Spenser and
others, he refers only briefly to Shakespeare's work and in very general
terms without specifically locating Elizabeth in any of his sonnets.

Dana Shilling wrote:

>Funny kind of flattery
>Although Queen Elizabeth had a boundless appetite for flattery, she did
>not take kindly to being told to marry and procreate-certainly not by an
>obscure sonnet-wallah. And I can hardly imagine her being grateful for
>being described as a none-too-bright, two-timing slut, much less a
>none-too-bright, two-timing slut who is "pricked out for women's

If he was an obscure whatchamacallit when he started writing the sonnets
(pace Karen Peterson-Kranz' reference to Katherine Duncan-Jones' dating)
he was not by the time he finished.  In any case, the sonnets (1-17) do
not so much tell anyone to procreate as beseechingly implore them to do
so.  If the increasing disenchantment with the young man's obtuseness
(if this is what you refer to) reflects an increasing disenchantment
with the queen, the poet may not have cared whether or not she took
kindly to it?

I admit that the prick of sonnet 20 is to my purpose nothing.  I can
only say that you have to dig through an awful lot of sonnets before you
find one prick.


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