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Transcript
5/18/2012
Explicating Poetry
Renaissance Poetry
Sonnets, Pastoral, Metaphysical,
Cavalier
• Explication of poetry is a technique to help
readers understand, analyze, write about, and
talk about poetry. There are multiple steps to
successfully explicating a poem, and this
technique can be used for any poetic form to help
your understanding:
• 1. Read, re-read, and read again. Always
annotate!
– Annotation serves as your reminder of what you
thought as you read each time. It also provides an
opportunity to “discuss” the poem and its ideas with
the author.
Explicating Poetry
• 2. Examine the situation in the poem.
– Who is the speaker? To whom is s/he speaking?
What is the subject of the poem? What is the tone?
How is it related to the subject? What is the
speaker’s attitude toward the subject? How do you
recognize the tone?
• 3. Examine the structure of the poem.
– Does the poem’s emotional punch or climax come at
the beginning or the end? If the end, how does the
author build to it? If the beginning, what comes as a
result of it? What kind of sentence structure is
there? What does that tell you? What kind of
punctuation is there? What is the movement of the
poem (are ideas developed chronologically, through
cause and effect, circularly)?
Explicating Poetry
• 4. Examine the language of the poem.
– What kind of language is used (formal, simple,
unusual, colloquial)? What allusions are present?
What kind of figurative language is used?
• 5. Examine the musical devices in the poem.
– What is the rhyme scheme? What effect does it have?
What is the rhythm? Is it consistent? What is the
effect of this? What “sound effects” are used?
• 6. Write!
– It is important to get your ideas down on paper and
go through a re-write process to clarify them and
make them more concise.
Francesco Petrarch
• 1304-1374
• B. Arezzo, Italy
• Poet, Scholar and
Humanist during the
Italian Renaissance
• His sonnets became a
model of poetic form
for all of Europe
ITALY
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5/18/2012
Petrarchan Sonnet Form
• Consists of two parts:
– Octave (8 lines)
• Introduces a problem or situation which leads to conflict or
doubt in the reader
• Introduced in the 1st quatrain and developed in the 2nd
quatrain
– Volta
• The turn, or transition, between the two main parts. Found at
the beginning of the Sestet.
– Sestet (6 lines)
• Comments on or proposes a solution to the problem put forth
in the Octave
TUSCANY
Petrarchan Sonnet Form
Petrarchan Sonnet Form
• Written in Iambic Pentameter
– A 10 syllable line in which stresses alternate and
there were 5 stressed and 5 unstressed syllables in
each line
– Stresses and caesuras are marked on the Keats’
line below:
˘
/
˘
/
˘
/
˘
/
˘
/
• Sonnets have a strict rhyme scheme
• Octave: Only one option
– abbaabba
• Sestet: Many options in Petrarchan Sonnets
–
–
–
–
–
–
cdcdcd
cddcdc
cdecde
cdeced
cdcedc
cdedce
To swell the gourd, and plump the ha- zel shells
Petrarch Sonnet 3
Era il giorno ch’al sol si scoloraro
Per la pieta del suo factore i rai,
Quando i’ fui preso, et non me ne
guardai,
Che i be’ vostr’occhi, donna, mi legaro.
Tempo non mi parea da far riparo
Contra colpi d’Amor: pero m’andai
Secur, senaa sospetto; onde I miei guai
Nel commune dolor s’incominiciaro
It was on that day when the sun’s ray
Was darkened in pity for its Maker
That I was captured, and did not defend
myself,
Because your lovely eyes had bound me,
Lady.
It did not seem to me a time to guard
myself
Against Love’s blows: so I went on
Confident, unsuspecting; from that, my
troubles
Started, amongst the public sorrows.
Petrarch Sonnet 3
Trovommi Amor del tutto disarmato
Et aperta la via per gli occhi al core,
Che di lagrime son fatti uscio et varco:
Pero al mio parer non li fu honore
Ferir me de saetta in quello stato,
A voi armata non mostrar pur l’arco.
Love discovered me all weaponless,
And opened the way to the heart
through the eyes,
Which are made the passageways and
doors of tears:
So that it seems to me it does him little
honour
To wound me with his arrow, in that
state,
He not showing his bow at all to you
who are armed.
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5/18/2012
“London, 1802” - Wordsworth
A
B
B
A
A
B
B
A
C
D
D
E
C
E
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.
Spenser - Major Works
• The Faerie Queen, an epic poem that tells the
stories of six knights, each of whom represent
a moral virtue.
• Amoretti, the only Renaissance sonnet
sequence that celebrates a happy relationship
that ends in marriage.
Interlocking Rhyme Scheme
• Spenserian sonnets are unique in the rhyme
scheme.
• Quatrain 1: a b a b
• Quatrain 2: b c b c
• Quatrain 3: c d c d
• Rhyming Couplet: e e
Edmund Spenser
• 1552ca-1599
• B. London, England
• Attended Cambridge and
earned a master’s degree.
• Spent most of his life in
Ireland and his poetry was
greatly influenced by his
time there.
• Apparently died in
poverty.
Spenserian Sonnets
• Still 14 lines
• Broken into 4 parts
– 3 quatrains
– 1 rhyming couplet
• Also written in iambic pentameter
˘
/ ˘
/
˘ /
˘
/ ˘
/
My love is like to ice, and I to fire
Content
• Each quatrain addresses the poem’s central
idea, thought, or question.
• The couplet provides an answer or a
summation.
• The volta occurs in either line 9 or line 13 at
the beginning of the rhyming couplet.
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5/18/2012
A
B
A
B
B
C
B
C
C
D
C
D
E
E
Sonnet VII
Fayre eyes! The myrrour of my mazed hart,
What wondrous vertue is contaynd in you,
The which both lyfe and death forth from you dart,
Into the object of your might view?
For, when ye mildly looke with lovely hew,
Then is my soule with life and love inspired:
But when ye lowre, or looke on me askew,
Then doe I die, as one with lightning fyred.
But, since that lyfe is more then death desyred,
Looke ever lovely, as becomes you best;
That your bright beams, of my weak eies admyred,
May kindle living fire within my brest.
Such life should be the honor of your light
Such death the sad ensample of your might.
William Shakespeare
• c. 1564-1616
• b. Stratford-uponAvon, England
• Playwright, Poet,
Actor
• Most famous for his
plays
• All but 2 of his 154
sonnets were
published in 1609
Shakespearean Sonnets
• 1609 Quarto only source
of most 152
Shakespearean Sonnets.
• There are 3 categories of
poems in this Quarto:
– 1-126 are addressed to The
Fair Youth
– 127-152 are addressed to
The Dark Mistress
– A Lover’s Complaint a 329
line poem written in Rhyme
Royal
Shakespeare’s Addressees
• The Fair Youth (sonnets 1-126)
– An unnamed young man
– Written to in loving and romantic language
– Some suggest this may be a homosexual love, others
find support that it is platonic, or father-son love
Shakespearean Sonnet Form
• Still 14 lines
• Broken into 4 parts
– 3 quatrains
– 1 rhyming couplet
• Written in iambic pentameter:
• The Dark Lady (sonnets 127-152)
– Given this name because of she is described as being
dark haired
– The sonnets written about her express infatuation and
are more sexual in nature
˘ / ˘ /
˘ / ˘ / ˘
/
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
4
5/18/2012
Sonnet 18
Shakespearean Sonnet Form
• Rhyme Scheme:
–
–
–
–
Quatrain 1: a b a b [introduces question]
Quatrain 2: c d c d
[tentative
Quatrain 3: e f e f
answers]
Rhyming Couplet: g g [final answer]
• Volta:
– The turn or transition in line 9 which marks
a shift in focus or thought
Sonnet 18
EF
EF
G
G
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Sonnet 18
Sonnet Activities
• Read the following sonnets and use the notes
to identify the subject, the rhyme scheme, the
structure, the volta, and use of other literary
devices. You should be able to recognize the
format/author of a sonnet based on the form.
• Spenser: Sonnets 30 & 75 (pgs. 320-321)
• Shakespeare: Sonnets 18, 29, 116 & 130 (pgs.
326-330)
• Petrarch: Sonnets 90 & 292 (pgs. 336-337)
A
B
A
B
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath too short a date.
C
D
C
D
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed.
Sonnet 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Intro to Pastoral Poetry
• Based on a Classical works by poets of Ancient
Greece and Rome - who were admired by
Renaissance writers. (Just like the Humanists! – See
Renaissance Background Notes)
• Feature an idealistic characterization of nature
(especially shepherds and their charges) and the
simple life.
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5/18/2012
Intro to Pastoral Poetry
• Often use a romantic tone and deal with ideas
of love and seduction.
• Utilize metrical patterns and rhyme schemes
that make the poems seem musical.
• Imagery is one of the most frequently used
literary devices in Pastoral Poetry.
Pastoral Poets
• Christopher Marlowe
– First great English playwright, most famous for Dr.
Faustus.
– Attended Cambridge University on scholarship.
– Accused of atheism, espionage, counterfeit,
treason, and murder.
– Died in a tavern brawl at the age of 29, possibly
murdered for political reasons.
Pastoral Poets
• Sir Walter Raleigh
– Origin of the romantic ideal/cliché of spreading a
coat on the ground for a lady.
– A favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, but fell out of
favor when he secretly married and was
imprisoned along with his wife.
– Led several expeditions to the New World.
– Imprisoned and tried for treason by King James,
eventually beheaded.
Pastoral Poems
• Read Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to
His Love” and Raleigh’s “The Nymph’s Reply to
the Shepherd” (pgs. 314-316 of the textbook).
• Answer the following for each:
•
•
•
•
•
Who is the speaker of the poem?
Who is being addressed?
What is most important to this speaker?
What literary device characterizes this poem?
How does this poem qualify as Pastoral?
Pastoral Poems
Metaphysical Poetry
• Compare the formats of the poems – notice the
parallel subjects.
• Interpretation: Why does the nymph reject the
shepherd? How might he have persuaded her to run
away with [him] and be [his] love?
• Evaluation: Is the nymph justified in her response?
• The scholarly atmosphere of the humanist movement
of the Elizabethan and Renaissance period also
fostered great reflection or religion and the meaning of
life.
• Metaphysical Poetry is primarily devotional and often
mystical in content, even though it frequently deals
with ideas of physical love and relationships.
– Is a style of lyric poetry.
– Characterized by abstract thinking.
– Experiments with language – which sometimes makes it
difficult to understand.
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5/18/2012
Metaphysical Poetry
• Traits of Metaphysical Poetry
– Simple, conversational vocabulary, but complex
sentence structure.
– Metaphysical conceits: a type of extended
metaphor comparing very dissimilar things.
– Paradoxes: statements that seem to contradict
themselves.
– Disruptions of poetic meter, or intentionally
created “roughness” or unevenness.
– Witty and imaginative plays on words.
Metaphysical Poets
Ben Jonson
One of the most important literary figures of the
Renaissance, at the time he was more well-known
than Shakespeare!
Primarily a playwright, but prior to his writing career
he worked as a bricklayer and joined the British Army.
Killed an actor in his company in a duel, but avoided
hanging by reading a Biblical passage in Latin, and
thus was tried by a Church court.
Famous for satirical work in his plays and an attempt
to avoid clichés and stock jokes.
Wrote poetry that reflected on more serious concerns
of life, such as the death of a child.
“Meditation 17”
• Read Donne’s metaphysical meditation on pg.
522. As we do, Look for any metaphors, and
especially the metaphysical conceit.
• Answer the following questions:
– What overall statement about life is Donne making in
this meditation?
– Identify as many metaphors as you can, including the
metaphysical conceit.
– What effect does the comparison made in the conceit
have?
– Identify a paradox.
Metaphysical Poets
• John Donne
– Popular Anglican priest – we’ll look at one of his
religious writings.
– Studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, but
never received a degree because he was born Roman
Catholic.
– Secretly married for love, and because his wife was
the young daughter of his boss, he lost his job and
became poor.
– Like many metaphysical poets, focuses on ideas of
love, death, religion
“A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”
• Read Donne’s poem on pg. 518-520 of the textbook.
Use your footnotes and take the time to understand
each line of the poem.
• Answer the following questions:
– To whom is Donne speaking in this poem?
– How does Donne characterize his relationship with this
person? How does it compare to the relationships of
others?
– What is the metaphysical conceit in this poem? What is
being compared and to what effect?
– What other characteristics of metaphysical poetry are
present in this poem? Identify, with specific textual
evidence, at least 2.
Cavalier Poetry
• “Song: To Celia,” along with Jonson’s other works pave
the way for a group of poets called the Cavalier poets.
This group was so-called because they were known for
their use of the themes of love, war, honor, and courtly
behavior.
• This type of poetry is often referred to as Carpe Diem
Poetry because they often advocated the philosophy of
living for the moment.
• The group referred to themselves as the “sons of Ben”
or the “tribe of Ben” in homage to Ben Jonson, whom
they considered to be their literary father.
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Cavalier Poetry
• Cavalier Poetry is lyric poetry, meaning that it is
subjective, reflective poetry with regular rhyme
scheme and meter which reveals the poet’s
thoughts and feelings to create a single, unique
impression.
• It contains an abundance of figurative language
(hyperbole, metaphor, simile, and personification)
as well as the use of sound devices (alliteration,
assonance, rhyming, meter, repetition, etc.).
• Because of this, Cavalier Poetry is a good place to
practice explicating poetry.
“To the Virgins, to Make Much of
Time” – Herrick, pg. 534
• Read and annotate this poem. Focus your
thinking using the explication technique outlined
earlier and by considering how this poetry
compares and contrasts to Metaphysical Poetry.
• On your own, annotate the poem and begin to go
through the explication process. Take notes, but
rather than writing, we will discuss this together.
Prepare some talking points for this discussion.
• Talking points can always be written in a
paragraph or two for a more complete and
polished understanding!
“Song: To Celia”
• Read and explicate Jonson’s poem on pg. 528
of the textbook. Perform a side-by-side
annotation on a separate sheet of paper.
– 1. Read and annotate, 2. Examine the situation, 3.
Examine the structure, 4. Examine the language,
5. Examine the musical devices, 6. Write - in this
case an outline of your ideas.
– Does it qualify as a metaphysical poem? How is it
different (if it is!) from Donne’s Metaphysical
Poetry? Be specific in your characterization.
“To His Coy Mistress”
• Read and explicate “To His Coy Mistress” on pg. 532 of the
textbook. Follow the 6 steps: Read and annotate, examine
the situation, examine the structure, examine the
language, examine the musical devices, and write.
• Your writing should involve the preparation of a thesisstyle statement. You should also prepare a couple of
questions for a fishbowl discussion involving the poem and
Cavalier poetry to be held tomorrow. Answer these
questions with about a paragraph response considering
your own points and thoughts on the poem.
• Some focusing questions to help you prepare a thesis:
– Is the author persuasive in his argument?
– How does the author use figurative language in the poem?
8