William Shakespeare | Critical Essay by Richard A. Lanham

This literature criticism consists of approximately 15 pages of analysis & critique of William Shakespeare.
This section contains 5,965 words
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Critical Essay by Richard A. Lanham

SOURCE: "Superposed Poetics: The Sonnets," in The Motives of Eloquence, Yale University Press, 1976, pp. 111-28.

In the following essay, Lanham argues that Shakespeare created a unique kind of poetics in his sonnets by superimposing a rhetorical or "play" discourse upon a serious one. The critic points out that this mode of expression allowed Shakespeare to reanimate Petrarchan clichés, to praise the youth extravagantly while simultaneously destroying his character, and to continually re-present the poetics in a series of inconsistent, contradictory guises.

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From the two views of life [I call] rhetorical and serious there devolve, [I suggest], two corresponding poetics. Since Shakespeare's sonnets superpose these two poetics one upon the other, it may be useful to review the differences between them.

Western poetics descend from Aristotle, and for Aristotle poetry was serious. We don't know what...

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This section contains 5,965 words
(approx. 20 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Gregory W. Bredbeck