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Sonnets and metaphysical poetry

Sonnet
a poem usually of 14 lines in which the poet examines two usually contrasting ideas, emotions, states of mind, beliefs, actions, events, images, etc., by juxtaposing the two against each other, and possibly resolving or just revealing the tensions created and operative between the two

3 types of sonnets
• Italian

• Spenserian
and English

Italian (Pertrarchrain) sonnet ID
• Divided into two sections by two different groups of rhyming sounds

• The first 8 lines is called the octave and rhymes a b b a a b b a

• The remaining 6 lines is called the sestet and can have either two or three rhyming sounds, arranged in a variety of ways
§ c d c d c d
c d d c d c
c d e c d e
c d e c e d
c d c e d c
§ The exact pattern of sestet rhymes (unlike the octave pattern) is flexible.
§ In Italian sonnets, the sestet generally does NOT end with a rhymed couplet (dd or ee)

Volta
the turn of events; normally in about the middle of the poem. it is very essential to the overall meaning. it is when the second idea in introduced

Sesperian Sonnet
• Invented by Edmund Spenser
§ Has the pattern: a b a b b c b c c d c d e e

• Also contains a volta

Shakespearean sonnet
• Consists of 3 quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet:
§ a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g

• As in the Spenserian, each quatrain develops a specific idea, but one closely related to the ideas in the other quatrains.

• Also contains a volta

Metaphysical poetry mixes what two things
science and spirituality

who coined the name of metaphysical poetry?
Samuel Johnson

importance of John Donne
he did not write for a public audience; he only wrote for other poets

who were some of the Carpe Diem poets
Andrew Marvell and Robert Herrick

Metaphysical Conceit
1. a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images in comparison.
2. These comparisons make a point.
3. normally the comparison is with something that is beyond the senses to something scientific

syllogism
deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major or minor premise and conclusion… a=b and b=c therefore a=c

Metaphysical Themes
1. emotion
2. possibilities and truth
3. personal action in an Ambiguous Cosmos
4. Theory of Correspondence
5. inconstant woman

Ambiguous Cosmos
life doesn’t matter; at the mercy of fate

Theory of Correspondences
interlocking relationships between the heavens, earth, body, politics, and man- all of which are expressions of God

rhyme scheme of italian sonnets
• The first 8 lines is called the octave and rhymes a b b a a b b a

• The remaining 6 lines is called the sestet and can have either two or three rhyming sounds, arranged in a variety of ways
§ c d c d c d
c d d c d c
c d e c d e
c d e c e d
c d c e d c
§ The exact pattern of sestet rhymes (unlike the octave pattern) is flexible.
§ In Italian sonnets, the sestet generally does NOT end with a rhymed couplet (dd or ee)

ryme scheme of sesperian sonnets
a b a b b c b c c d c d e e

ryme scheme of english sonnets
• Consists of 3 quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet:
§ a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g

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