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Lecture 20: The Sonnet, Again


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Slideshow for the twentieth lecture in my summer course, English 10, "Introduction to Literary Studies: Deception, Dishonesty, Bullshit."

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Lecture 20: The Sonnet, Again

  1. 1. Lecture 20: The Sonnet, Again PATRICK MOONEY, M.A. ENGLISH 10, SUMMER SESSION A 23 JULY 2015
  2. 2. But first: pararhyme ● Rhyme form in which consonant sounds are repeated with variation in vowels. ● A specific type of consonance, in which consonants in the two words match (rabies, robbers). ● In pararhyme, all consonants are identical. ● Brought into contemporary English usageby Wilfred Owen. ● Previously used extensively in Welsh poetry.
  3. 3. It seemed that out of battle I escaped Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped Through granites where titanic wars had groined Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared With piteous recognition in fixed eyes, Lifting distressful hands as if to bless. And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall, By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell. (Owen, “Strange Meeting” lines 1–10)
  4. 4. What other rhyme types have we already seen? ● “Perfect” ● Basically means: the final stressed vowel sound is the same. So are all other sounds that follow the final stressed vowel. ● Where’s the stressed syllable?—“Single,” “double,” “dactyllic” ● “Slant”: matching final syllables (or assonance/consonance) ● “Broken”: Keats, “I Am As Brisk”; cummings, “‘next to of course god america i” ● “Masculine” / “Feminine” …
  5. 5. The Onegin stanza There are occasions when morality And civil law are in dispute. Granted its sole officiality, Civil law is not absolute. If we accept our obligation Not to accept annihilation Or that, in our name, bombs are hurled At others elsewhere in the world, The quote above needs its addenda Students who gloss a narrow text Should read the passage that comes next; It is suggested that we render Things that are God’s to God, as well As stocking Caesar’s citadel. (Seth 7.25) ● Iambic tetrameter, but … ● Structured not just in terms of rhyme, but also has structured occurrences of masculine/ feminine rhymes: aBaBccDDeFFeGG – Uppercase: masculine (final syllable stressed) – Lowercase: feminine (extra final syllable, unstressed) ● What happens in the lines with feminine rhymes?
  6. 6. Modern Love, §15 (a sonnet) a I think she sleeps: it must be sleep, when low b Hangs that abandoned arm toward the floor; b The face turned with it. Now make fast the door, a Sleep on: it is your husband, not your foe. c The Poet’s black stage-lion of wronged love d Frights not our modern dames—well if he did! d Now will I pour new light upon that lid, c Full-sloping like the breasts beneath. “Sweet dove, e Your sleep is pure. Nay, pardon: I disturb. f I do not? Good!” Her waking infant-tare f Grows woman to the burden my hands bear: e Her own handwriting to me, when no curb g Was left on Passion’s tongue. She trembles through; h A woman’s tremble—the whole instrument— h I show another letter lately send. g The words are very like: the name is new.
  7. 7. Dialectic, a method of reasoning, seeking to resolve disagreements through rational discussion, and thereby to determine the truth of a matter. ● The Socratic method pushes a hypothesis to its limits, revealing a logical contradiction, and thereby showing that the hypothesis is not a viable candidate for truth. ● Hegelian (Fichtean) dialectics: – Abstract—Negative—Concrete – (Thesis—Antithesis—Synthesis) ● The Marxist notion of history
  8. 8. Let’s take a look at … ● Shakespeare’s sonnet 138 (reader p. 155) ● cummings, “it may not always be so;and i say” (reader p. 230) ● Owen, “Anthem for Doomed Youth” (347) ● Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur”
  9. 9. Pied Beauty Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour, adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him.