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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: June ::
Re: Sonnet 144
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1503  Friday, 7 June 2002

[1]     From:   Mari Bonomi <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 Jun 2002 11:01:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144

[2]     From:   Martin Green <
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        Date:   Friday, 07 Jun 2002 16:10:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 07 Jun 2002 13:01:24 -0400
        Subj:   Psychomachia

[4]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 Jun 2002 21:57:37 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144

[5]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Saturday, 8 Jun 2002 05:03:42 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mari Bonomi <
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Date:           Friday, 7 Jun 2002 11:01:21 -0400
Subject: 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144

In reply to Ed Taft's probing queries on the presentation of the fair
young man in Sonnet 144 in contrast to the earlier sonnets, I have only
a perhaps ignorant question:

How can we be sure the order/numbering of the sonnets as we receive them
from editors is an order Shakespeare himself created?

While reading them in the order we know creates a sense of direction, is
that something we (and the editors of volumes of the sonnets) have
imposed on them, or is it a direction their author wanted us to take?

Mari Bonomi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Green <
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Date:           Friday, 07 Jun 2002 16:10:16 -0400
Subject: 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144

The fact that a Sonnet is numbered 144 does not establish that it was
written AFTER any of the Sonnets numbered 1-126; many of the Sonnets to
the Fair Friend, especially those saying that he smells bad, were
obviously written at the same time as the Sonnets dealing with the Dark
Lady who, though the poet initially thought her fair and bright, turned
out to be as black as hell, as dark as night (Sonnet 147).  Sonnet 99
tells in terms of flowers the very same story that Sonnet 144 tells in
terms of "angels."  There's no "psychomachia" here.

M. Green

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 07 Jun 2002 13:01:24 -0400
Subject:        Psychomachia

Ed Taft notes that Sonnet 144 may be an instance of

> Psychomachia, the same technique Marlowe uses in _Dr.
> Faustus_ when Faustus listens to the good and the bad angel, spirits
> that may be both internal and external at the same time.

I wonder if Richard's difficult soliloquy on awaking from his dream in
RIII,V.iii, is another instance.  Was it influenced by Marlowe?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Friday, 7 Jun 2002 21:57:37 +0100
Subject: 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144

I think Edmund has it right that the spirits referred to in Sonnet 144
are both external and internal - although the latter would be
unconscious contemplation.  I disagree with him, however, in his
assertion that there is incongruity in the image of the young man and
the earlier descriptions.  The sonnets to the Dark Lady are, to be
frank, misogynistic.  Therefore the woman is bad by nature and the boy,
begun pure, is being corrupted by people and things - mostly women.
Although the boy is now profligate, he is still seen as an angel, the
'stinking lilies' being a warning rather than a description of his
present state.  It seems the boy and the woman had an affair behind the
writer's back and Shakespeare clearly blames the woman.  His problem may
have been with the physical need to have sex with women and his disgust
for it described so awfully in Sonnet 129 seemingly reducing the act to
the exhausted production of semen.  It is for this reason that I think
the love of the boy was not physical and so creates a further difference
between Shakespeare's perception of love of the two sexes.

SAM SMALL
http://www.passioninpieces.co.uk

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Saturday, 8 Jun 2002 05:03:42 -0400
Subject: 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1501 Re: Sonnet 144

This is what makes me crazy about sonnet analysis. Shakespeare, working
in an all male London theatre company only knew one good-looking and/or
blond guy? One? In the whole time he was there?

I was in London about ten years ago and I was astonished by the number
of gorgeous blond men. (And tall. They were tall too.) Think Viking
raids, folks.

Isn't it possible Shakespeare had a thing for cute blonds? And London
was smorgasbord?

Also, we're perfectly certain Sonnet 144 isn't out of order?

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