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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: August ::
Re: Sonnets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1391  Monday 9 August 1999.

[1]     From:   Dana Wilson <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 Aug 1999 07:44:35 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1383 Re: Sonnets

[2]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Saturday, 7 Aug 1999 08:25:41 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1383 Re: Sonnets

[3]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Sun, 8 Aug 1999 18:57:44 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1383 Re: Sonnets


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Wilson <
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Date:           Friday, 6 Aug 1999 07:44:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 10.1383 Re: Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1383 Re: Sonnets

Robin wrote:

> Hardy Cook writes:
>
> >Of interest, Malone asserted that the first 126 poems were
> >addressed to a man and then qualified this assertion with "such
> >addresses to men, however, indelicate, were customary in our author's
> >time, and neither imported criminality, nor were esteemed indecorous"
> (20.241).
>
> I was brought up on this, and took it as gospel, till it occurred to me
> to ask myself, "Just how customary?"  Dante, Petrarch, Sidney, Spenser,
> Drayton, Daniel, Greville ...  We really have to root around a bit till
> we find a male addressee other than in Shakespeare's sequence.

Michelangelo.  Although, the gender was changed to female in his poems
as well at an early point: I believe the term is bowdlerization.

Yours,
Dana

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Saturday, 7 Aug 1999 08:25:41 +1000
Subject: 10.1383 Re: Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1383 Re: Sonnets

>A slightly picky point, but while the Young Man sonnets are addressed to
>(or presented in the form of an address to) the assumed recipient, the
>Dark Lady sonnets are written about, but not addressed to, their
>subject.
>
>Robin Hamilton

Not picky at all...an excellent point.  Thank you, Robin.

>Hardy Cook writes:
>
>>Of interest, Malone asserted that the first 126 poems were
>>addressed to a man and then qualified this assertion with "such addresses to
>>men, however, indelicate, were customary in our author's time, and
>>neither imported criminality, nor were esteemed indecorous" (20.241).
>
>I was brought up on this, and took it as gospel, till it occurred to me
>to ask myself, "Just how customary?"  Dante, Petrarch, Sidney, Spenser,
>Drayton, Daniel, Greville ...  We really have to root around a bit till
>we find a male addressee other than in Shakespeare's sequence.  And if
>such an address were so customary, why the gender-change in the
>republication of the poems in 1640?
>
>Robin Hamilton

After rooting around, one finds Richard Barnfield's quite openly
homoerotic poems...and to my knowledge, only Richard Barnfield.  The
poems are quite interesting to read in counterpoint to Shakespeare's
Sonnets.

>I just wanted to mention the existence of a new collection of essays on
>the Sonnets which addresses many of the concerns brought up recently.
>Shakespeare's Sonnets: Critical Essays*, ed. James Schiffer (New York
>and London: Garland Publishing, 1999).  The essays are all
>extraordinarily good and together constitute (sort of) a representative
>state-of-the-art of work on the sonnets post Fineman's *Shakespeare's
>Perjured Eye*.  Unfortunately, I think it, like most of the volumes in
>the Garland series, is extraordinarily expensive and not available in
>paper.  But it arrived in the library here a month or so ago.
>
>Chris Warley

Just another recommendation for the Garland collection.  Chris is
correct- the quality of the essays, which include reprints some of the
contemporary classics on the Sonnets, as well as an outstanding
selection of never-before-published studies, is superb.  And the book is
extraordinarily expensive; I bit the bullet and purchased it because it
is highly relevant to my work, but I think it was $75-80 (not counting
shipping).  Ouch.

>Has anyone ever suggested that Elizabeth is the Dark Lady of the
>sonnets?  In some ways that makes more sense to me than trying to see
>her as the recipient of the "young man" sonnets.
>
>Susan Oldrieve

Given the almost infinite number of interpretations that have been
offered for the sonnets, I would wager that sometime, somewhere, someone
has suggested that Elizabeth was the Dark Lady.  I don't see it,
myself.  Beyond the matter of both being female, are there any other
ways in which that interpretation "makes sense"?  (I'm not being
sarcastic...I'm hoping that if there are, someone will respond and point
them out to all of us.)

Cheers,
Karen Peterson-Kranz
University of Guam

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Sun, 8 Aug 1999 18:57:44 -0600
Subject: 10.1383 Re: Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1383 Re: Sonnets

Robin Hamilton wrote:

>Hardy Cook writes:
>
>>Of interest, Malone asserted that the first 126 poems were addressed to
>>a man and then qualified this assertion with "such addresses to men,
>>however, indelicate, were customary in our author's time, and neither
>>imported criminality, nor were esteemed indecorous" (20.241).
>
>I was brought up on this, and took it as gospel, till it occurred to me
>to ask myself, "Just how customary?"  Dante, Petrarch, Sidney, Spenser,
>Drayton, Daniel, Greville ...  We really have to root around a bit till
>we find a male addressee other than in Shakespeare's sequence.

Actually, sonnet sequences in Shakespeare's time addressed to men by men
are not very common at all in Shakespeare's time.  The only one I can
think of right now is a twenty-sonnet sequence in Richard Barnfield's
volume Cynthia (1595), though there might be another one somewhere.

>And if
>such an address were so customary, why the gender-change in the
>republication of the poems in 1640?

I believe the extent of Benson's gender-changing in 1640 has been
exaggerated somewhat, though I forget the exact citation for where I
read a discussion of that.  Probably is Hyder Rollins' Variorum
Sonnets.  I think only three pronouns were changed from male to female,
and maybe one or two were changed the other way.

Dave Kathman

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