In live blogging this conference, I am following the conventions for conference blogging.
(Except that I didn’t post this right away. Had trouble with the internet and then forgot.)
Something is up with the internet in these conference rooms. I canâ€™t post well and the internet seems to freeze. Although Twitter seems to be working.
Note: Not a particularly high tech topic, but they have tech. Perhaps it belongs to one of the presenters?
ENGLISH II: RENAISSANCE LITERATURE EXCLUDING DRAMA: Open Topic PART I (mostly poetry) (R)â€¨Chair: Jessica C. Murphy, U of Texas-Dallas
Have two panels at this conference. This is the first.
1. â€œâ€˜Death wrapped in fleshâ€™: Disguised Desire and Poetic Performance in Philip Sidneyâ€™s Arcadia,â€ Kris McAbee, U of Arkansas-Little Rock
Prose romance and complicated via perspective and subjectivity. Sonnets as a signifier of that complex subjectivity.
Late 16th C
turn to sonnets to express their desires, appear to spontaneously break into sonnets
interest in world of sonnet in 16th century, to conjure the idea of the sonneteer
focus on several embedded sonnets
sonneteerâ€™s performance, commonplace imagery connecting death and desire
1586, Sidney dies with â€œnewâ€ version incomplete
1590, Greville publishes unfinished â€œnewâ€ version
1593, Mary Sidney adds last three books of â€œoldâ€ version
1621 Sir WM Alexander writes and adds 5.5 addtâ€™l chapters
disparate texts of the two books
18 sonnets in old
2 of these not in new, both shepherding songs in middle of book 2
1 sonnet added by Alexander in 1621
first is idealized sonnet and second is critical, realistic sonnetâ€¦
will mostly talk about other sonnets, but will include the Alexander sonnetâ€¦ Suggests he saw the sonnet genre as a necessary portion of the text.
Pyrocles, Zelmane (new name) or Cleophilia (old name) cross-dressed
â€œmore dangerous darts than death, love throwsâ€ â€“first line of Alexanderâ€™s sonnet
â€œwhere love with pleasure doth torment the mindâ€
His deathbed sonnet about how death is not as bad or painful as love. Pyrocles is dying and says that death is better than love. Chooses to dwell on the pain of his love rather than the impending death which will separate him from his love.
The ladies overhear. Change in perspective. The women are eavesdropping.
complications of disguiseâ€¦ â€œAs soon as this song was ended, Pamela opened the door, saluting him still (so to disguise her knowledge) by the name of Zelmane, and asked in what estate she was with herself.â€ quote that shows the changing perspectiveâ€¦ Poetic pose and poetic form is part of the sonneteer.
Sonnets are part of the narrative itself. Cleophila/Zelmane uses sonnets most often. Takes on role of sonneteer. Pyrocles has dressed as a woman to woo his love.
As desire is expressed more clearly, there are fewer sonnets. So the sonnets are primarily points of ambiguity (both identity and ?).
gender studies are interested: â€œTransformed in show, but more transformed in mind.â€ –gender-based narrative
Maria Pendergrast â€œPhiloclea Parsed: Prose, Verse, and Femininity in Sidneyâ€™s Old Arcadiaâ€
When characters evoke the sonneteer, they do so in different disguises.
Cleophilia (Pyrocles) in love with X, daughter of Basilius and Gynecia, both of whom are hitting on Cleophilia.
â€œI like this place where, at the least, the dark
May keep my thoughts from thoughtâ€¦â€
Hears another sonnetâ€¦ â€œcome cave, become my grave!â€ Finds a sonnet written on a piece of paper. Gynecia is wasting away, â€œlike death wrapped in flesh.â€
Characters are hearing each otherâ€™s hiding. Similar to â€œloveâ€™s labours lostâ€
â€œPrivateâ€ yet accidentally public sonnets, soneeteer expressing supposedly private thoughts. Force the characters to take on disguises.
Characters are united in their sonneteering. Overlapping modes of the text.
Thus by the height of the mode in the 1590, sonneteers appear in other genres. Appear in drama, walking across the stage. Sidneyâ€™s Arcadia signals that sonneteers show up in prose fiction as well. Sonnet is the only text that crosses genre.
2. â€œEchoes within the Void: Anxiety and Negation in the Love Poetry of Katherine Philips,â€ Sara Keeth, U of Texas-Dallasâ€¨
Start discussion about 17th C poety, with a quote about Adrienne Rich â€œin a culture where words are â€¦ dominantâ€¦ by men,â€¦ mustâ€¦ or seek for themselvesâ€¦ experiences which start to free the womanâ€¦ from maleâ€
Is she subverting herself OR is she looking forâ€¦
echo of male literary tradition of male friendship. She is using this as a starting point for her original language.
She is appropriating traditionally male genres. Trying to use and subvert masculine. Deeply influenced by Donne; her negation may be borrowed from Donneâ€™s â€œanti-Petrarchanâ€ poem. Describes her lover by what she is NOT. not, except by negatives. The power of negation to describe perfect love. Use of negation to describe love of two womenâ€¦
Is it an echo? Does she need Donneâ€™s authority?
Lesbianism is hard to see in early modern English. significance and insignificance are coming in what we see. The tensions are between the visible and the invisible. How else can she describe the embodiment of something that cannot be seen?
2 poems, love poem, describe what it is not. Mainly as an argument against menâ€™s love. Talk about lack of perfection in heterosexual.
â€œTo Ordeliaâ€ no slavery of stateâ€¦ political upheaval is absent from pastoral bowerâ€¦ implying that they seek shade together and find happiness and peaceâ€¦ insists on what will not happenâ€¦
negative space as vagina possibly or as empty space where echo can happen. Negation only appropriating Donne?
in â€œContentmentâ€¦Lucasiaâ€ 10 of 12 are negations of topic of contentment. equating passion and bondage. Phillips equates bondage as marriage. Phillips shows dangers for women in marriage, heterosexual love. The couple are removed from political: â€œcannot wish for other things than privacy and friendship brings.â€
Also â€œFriendshipâ€ does define true love, intimate friendship between two women. â€œSheâ€™s worse than beast who cannot loveâ€¦â€ Leaves to reader the way that love can be gained. â€œThis is friendshipâ€¦ that mortals cannot name.â€ â€œneither hurt, nor smoke, nor noise is made.â€ = negative perception of heterosexual love
proves by example that revolt is possibleâ€”explicit comparison in frontispiece of 1667 edition of her poemâ€¦ Phillips imitates Donne more than Sappho. Donne writes the same-sex love poem of Sappho to Philenus.
Perhaps Phillips is claiming Sappho as her foremother. But no evidence for that.
Deal offers different idea when looking at Adrienne Rich. â€œescaping the desires of male-dominated poetryâ€
lesbian tropes in Donneâ€™s poem (in Grease, Grice, Griece? paper)
Lesbian trope is sometimes linked to homosexual desire, but more often used to show interdependent intimacy of male poets to his poetic contemporaries and his predecessors. Donne is working out his relationship to Ovid, whose description of Sapphoâ€¦ Donne re-wrote Sappho history, that says Sappho is homosexual. Donne is appropriating a female voice in order to overcome his experienceâ€¦
Female love poetry has already been appropriated by male poets to work out their own intimacy issues.
Phillips does subvert her own speech, appropriating Donne, while using the experiences that are only available to women. Female subject should free Phillips. But the experience of lesbianism has been appropriated by men. â€œpoetic system of production that normalizes â€¦ creativeâ€¦â€ (Griece, Greise?)
â€œHow can a woman poetâ€¦ predominant shaping â€¦ of relationships that form art?â€ (Deal)
creativity would seem to work in Phillipsâ€™ favor
but as muse, she is denied poetic authority
metaphorically forced back into a heterosexual experience with men poets
to use discourse to describe her relationship with women
Cavalier form of poetry uses male homoerotic; lesbian experience still used by Donne. Does that mean she cannot speak in her own voice.
She is still borrowing from forefathers.
Female lesbian poet does not need to define her male forefathers. Phillips appears to be conforming to male poetry. Performance is more complicated when lesbian experience is claimed by men. Leaves only the negative space to speak without echoing men. (But men use negation, so how does that work?)
3. â€œâ€˜To be deathâ€™s conquestâ€™: Sonnet 6 and the Ultimate Sex Act,â€ Matt Brumit, U of Dallas
Comes from a much longer paper. Going to skip 8 pages of close readingâ€¦
Shakespeareâ€™s impetus to write seems to be how to make beauties rose from dying? Opening argument of the sequence is one possible answer: procreation.
Sonnet 35 is next use of the word rose.
Speaker has a view of the rose as himself, his narration. Sonnet 3, 4â€¦ transitioning to a financial one â€œwhat acceptable audit does thou leaveâ€
perfume = rose water
Sonnet 6 particularly interesting because it works as an introduction to many ideas. Offers distillation as an alternative means of â€¦
Abstinence is also a sexual act. If no other time, after death the body will create -> even if parasite. â€œto make worms thine heirâ€
Sonnet 6 ideal door to the reading the overall sequence.
Begins with â€œThenâ€ relates to Sonnet 5. Then and than were same word in early Mod English. So shows up in 1, 9, and 11. Begins with winter and then summerâ€¦ Flips order that is expected and is in Sonnet 5. Winter has a ragged hand. Personification of winter.
Winterâ€¦ faceâ€¦ fair youth is in danger of having his face ripped off by winter.
vial becomes a woman, even a vile woman. Alliteration here, refers to vagina. Treasure becomes penis or semen. Treasure is interesting because it shifts the metaphor into financial imagery (first introduced in sonnet 4).
Mixing of metaphors is not a bad thing.
With financial imagery, he is principal and his children are interest. Actually an inverse relationship. Loan in l. 6. 100 grandchildren, 1000 great-grandchildren. Fair youth is seeking to put himself into a vial.
Seems like mixing metaphors is a problem.
Procreation = fair youthâ€™s looks, vial and perfume seem to want to preserve his scent
also appears that wants to preserve his substance (which no one knows what that is)
metapoetic, word 10, shows up first time in line 8, 9, in 10 2x, in the poem 5 times. Metapoetic argument. Pun on early modern spelling of â€œto beâ€ form of art. Speaker is an artist. This is a work of art. Can preserve the fair youth through art.
What can death do? Viable ways that the fair youth can subvert death. Couplet shows what will happen if death gets the fair youth first.
Speaker says you can have tons of offspring, immortality of verse, or have worms be the fair youthâ€™s heir.
Notion of deathâ€™s wormsâ€¦ penetrate (male), reproduce (female), possess substance (child)â€¦ All the arguments relate to sexuality. All have sexual consequences. Conquest of death over the speakerâ€™s body.
Speaker wants fair youth to have better partner and better children than before death. But fair youth will be acted upon, not an actor, in the ultimate sexual experience.
Sonnet 129â€¦ negative view of sex (?)
Sonnet 6 speaker suggests there are at least 3 ways that fair youth can overcome death.
Sonnet 146, speaker returns to fair youth.
Reveals striking unity in the overall work.
â€œSo shalt thou feed on deathâ€¦â€
If sequence ended with 146, I would call it a Christian sequence.
But 8 more sonnets.
Sonnet 147 ends with hell.
Sonnet 148 seems to reject earthly love.
Sonnet 149 speaker says I am blind.
Sonnet 150 echoes Paulâ€™s complaint.
Sonnet 151 â€œtho want of conscience, â€¦ for whose dear love I rise and fallâ€
Sonnet 152 chooses to foreswear himself rather than his love
seems to foreshadow Miltonâ€™s Adam, who chooses to fall rather than deal with living without Eve
Sonnet 153, 154 seems like pagan afterlifeâ€¦ Perhaps the only thing worse than death and decay.
This may be what Shakespeareâ€™s sonnets are about, but I donâ€™t think that works. Sequence as a whole is too variegated. Sequence has too much weight in death.
Shakespeare makes beautiful the image of worms eating body of fair youth.
Arcadia and Phillips, negative space is homoerotic, homosocial
Is cave negative space? I think it is an infinite space.
Negative space as opening up a space for a feminine voice.
All the sonnets in the cave have a seemingly feminine voice.
Phillips is very careful to use only feminine pronouns for Zelmena.
So the cave becomes the feminine.
What Phillips is doing is radical.
Spencerâ€™s cave â€¦ is also feminineâ€¦ also a hybrid monster.
Mary Sidney got herself involved in this in an extremely problematic way.
Just to bring in the wormsâ€¦ Cavalier poets bring in the worms too. Worm penetrating her virginity in death.
Cave becomes infinitely womblike and regenerative of sonnets.
kind of related to thatâ€¦ Julia Lufton wrote paper on Shakespeareâ€™s play Perocles and female space in creation. Really interesting in light of both of your presentations. Sees a material connection to work as feminine in Shakespeareâ€™s play Perocles. Not poetry, but interesting.
Cave, womb, did not work. Because negation did not work. Phillips particularly.
Interesting, because womb in that sense would imply heteronormative use of the womb. With other women, might also make it work with the negative, because it is negating the reproduction.
Shakespeare is asking what are we going to do with all this masculine?
10x10x10x10â€¦ only works in the age of digital production. Print these up. Run out of print presses. This is AFTER 10x10x10x10 sonnets have been produced.
Gendered space and place in the narrative.
So is the rose hermaphroditic? Is it both male and female?
Rose equated more with fair youth. Donâ€™t know if rose image really carries over.
Can rose be both fair youth and dark lady? Doesnâ€™t seem that.
â€œno roses in her cheeksâ€ = negation
There are some roses known for being able to reproduce themselves.
Practice of grafting on roses started around that time period. Kind of production itself.
Sonnet 18 Iâ€™ll just stick my poetry on there and weâ€™re good.