The Epic Of Sonnets By Helen Vendler Essay

The Epic Of Sonnets By Helen Vendler Essay

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For my sonnet project, I’ve been researching more in-depth with the origins of sonnets and how they came to be. I’ve been looking at how they came to be during the Romantic period especially, since that is the period of time in which Keats produced his poetry. Some of the problems and issues that I still want to pursue for my project have been how the sonnet is uttered. Since the sonnet is a type of lyric, I’ve been looking into how the sonnet seems to be a more intimate ordeal as opposed to the lyric which was usually performed. Specifically how a poet can articulate a fourteen lined poem that can identify with whoever is reading it. If it even can identify with a reader or if it could strictly be one with the poet only. The introduction to Helen Vendler’s commentary on the Shakespeare sonnets have been a lot of help. She says on page 2 that: “A social reading is better directed at a novel or a play; the abstraction desired by the writer of, and the willing reader of, normative lyrics frustrates the mind that wants social fictions or biographical revelations.” Vendler has also influenced my way of thinking as well because I’ve been pursing just what kind of person “inhabits” the poem. (Vendler 11) And “where then does the charm of lyric lie?” (Vendler 14) Why were sonnets so popular with these poets? “A lyric is a “fairly short poem, consisting of the utterance by a single speaker, who expresses a state of mind or a process of perception, thought, and feeling,” with an emphasis on “original.” (Dubrow 26) How original were these sonnets? Especially during the Romantic period when it seemed to bring great change to the sonnets subject-wise.
Since “When I have fears I may cease to be” is what drew me to John Keats to begin with, I...


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...reciations for things, imagination, and just overall a more heightened focus on the human condition. I’ve been researching just how that all has affected the sonnet as a lyric. The issues my project is researching is just how the sonnet is a lyric. How a sonnet is read as a lyric, as well. The Dubrow article has been specifically helpful in starting to resolve these issues because of the way it presents both the lyric and the sonnet (and how the sonnet is a lyric.) There’s still a bit confusion as to how a sonnet can and can’t be a lyric, according to Dubrow’s article. I’m researching how the sonnet transformed during the Romantic period and more than just how it became more emotionally in depth. I want to focus on those sonnets I mentioned where Keats focuses on a gloomier subject as opposed to nature or love or even his letters he wrote to his friends and brother.

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