Poetry

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Sonnet

  • 14 lines
  • Iambic pentamter - 10 syllables per line
  • A lyric poem dealing with love and emotions - traditionally love and praise of a lover (Shakespeare changed this and introduced time, morality, jealousy, joy...)
  • The Petrarchan Sonnet - 14 lines divided into two parts: an 8-line section is called an octave and a 6-line section is called a sestet. volta is where the poet's argument changes and there is a resolution.
  • The Shakespearean Form - 14 lines divided into 3 quatrains and a rhyming couplet (ABABCDCDEFEFGG).
  • Studied poets - Shakespeare and Bartholomew Griffin.
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Love through the Ages

Shakespeare

Sonnet

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Shakespeare

  • His 154 sonnets deal with themes such as love, passing of time, beauty and mortality.
  • 'Characters' of the sonnets are usually the Fair Youth (platonic, possible homosexual love) and the Dark Lady (sexual love).
  • Violated many sonnet rules - plays with gender roles, speaks on human evils, political events, makes fun of love, speaks openly about sex, parodies beauty and introduces witty ***********.
  • Sonnets studied - "Sonnet 12", "Sonnet 18", "Sonnet 116" and "Sonnet 130".
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Metaphysical

  • Use an extended metaphor or "conceit".
  • Contrasts and compares metaphysical (spiritual or abstract) ideas to concrete things.
  • Images might be drawn from science, maths and astronomy. (contemporary - at the time).
  • Shocking imagery is used to challenge conventional romanticised ideas of love (far-fetched comparisons).
  • Use of hyperbole to exaggerate images/ideas.
  • They create a logical argument, also known as a syllogism. 
  • Studied poets - John Donne, Christopher Marlowe and Andrew Marvell.
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John Donne

  • During and after his education, Donne spent much of his considerable inheritance on women, literature, pastimes and travel.
  • He fell in love with Anne More and they were secretly married, when found out he lost his job and was sent to Fleet Prison.
  • He and Anne had 10 surviving children but Anne died 5 days after the birth of their 12th, a still born baby.
  • Donne mourned her deeply, and wrote of his love and loss in his 17th Holy Sonnet.
  • Studied poems - "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" and "The Sun Rising".
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Love through the Ages

John Donne

Metaphysical

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Romanticism

  • Around the second half of the 18th Century.
  • Complex, artistic, literary, itellectual and natural.
  • "Liberalism in literature" - freeing an artist from restraints and the encouragment of revolutionary ideas.
  • Revival of medievalism in art, letters and life.
  • "A psychological desire to escape from unpleasant realities" - imagination/fantasy.
  • Studied poets - Samual Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and John Keats.
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Love through the Ages

Lord Byron

Romanticism

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Lord Byron

  • "Mad, bad and dangerous to know"- Lady Caroline Lamb.
  • Bisexual (shocking at the time).

  • A part of many love affairs.

  • He used iambic tetrameter - 4 feet/ 8 syllables (associated with sincerity and simplicity which might reflect Byron's yearning for purity and simplicity embodied in Mrs Wilmot).

  • Studied poems- "We'll go no more a-roving" and "She Walks in Beauty".
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Love through the Ages

John Keats

Romanticism

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John Keats

  • Lost his father, mother and brother to tuberculosis and died of it himself at the age of 25.

  • Moved house and fell in love with his neighbour Fanny Brawne.

  • Much of his poetry was about her but the tone shifted as his illness worsened and his death grew nearer.

  • Studied poems - "Ode to a Nightingale", "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", "Bright Star", "Lamia" (extract) and "When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Exist".

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Victorian

  • Key themes in the Victorian era are strictness, religion, modest views, decadance (for example, 'showy' Victorian houses), they had a changing society (new development innovations) and conflicting views.
  • Poetry became easier to understand and dramatic monologues began to develop.
  • Victorians were very strict on sex and relationships and it wasn't talked about openly.
  • Gender roles were clearly defined which made it strange when poets went against them.
  • Poets studied - Thomas Hardy, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning and Emily Dickinson.
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Love through the Ages

Robert Browning

Victorian

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Robert Browning

  • Well-educated and was brought up as a Christian but later refused this which could have affected his work.
  • He met with poet Elizabeth Barrett in secret due to fear of her father's disapproval and then married the next year.
  • They moved to Italy and had a son where they both continued to write, but both died there years on.
  • The Italian Renaissance fascinated Browning and others because it represented the appreciation of beauty in humans, religion and morals.
  • Studied poems - "My Last Duchess", "A Woman's Last Word", "Meeting at Night" and "Porphyria's Lover".
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Love through the Ages

Thomas Hardy

Victorian

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Thomas Hardy

  • Fell in love with Emma Lavina Gifford who he married. After Emma's death, Hardy dedicated a selection of poems to her and visited places that reminded him of her.
  • He married Emily Dugdale who was 39 years young than him, however he remained preoccupied with Emma's death and continued to write poems about her.
  • Victorian realist, criticizes Victorian society, war, disappointment in love and life, irony and ghosts/spirits.
  • He wrote; lyrics, ballads, dramatic monologues and satires.
  • Studied poems - "The Voice".
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Love through the Ages

Christina Rossetti

Victorian

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Christina Rossetti

  • Educated at home about religious works, classics, fairytales and novels but sufferred a nervous breakdown as a teenager labelled "religious mania".
  • Lived as a 'spinster' (never married).
  • Explores contrasting themes like female identity, opression, marraige and the power struggle between men and women, women's education, employment opportunities, sexuality, psychology and the right to vote.
  • Tension between earthly passions and divine love.
  • Studied poems - "A Birthday".
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Love through the Ages

Emily Dickinson

Victorian

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Emily Dickinson

  • American poet who lived in New England.
  • Shy, introvert, never married, isolated.
  • She left home early, her new location was kept secret and she was strict on who she saw in private (suggests rebellion at this time).
  • Private poet - less than a dozen of her 1800 poems were published and they were often altered by publishers to make them more conventional.
  • Short lines, lack of a title, slant rhymes, death, immortality and unconventional capitalisation and punctuation.
  • Studied poems - "Love's Stricken 'why'" and "My life closed twice".
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Love through the Ages

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Victorian

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Alfred Lord Tennyson

  • Used a wide range of themes ranging from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic situations to observations of nature.
  • He was influenced by John Keats and other Romantic poets which is evident in the richness of his imagery and descriptive writing.
  • He used the musical quality of rhyming words and so many of his poems have been recored as songs.
  • He reflects a concern common among Victorian writers in being in the conflict of religious faith and expanding scientific knowledge.
  • Studied poems - "Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white".
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