Sonnet 29 | What May Words Do? The Performative of Praise
in Shakespeare's Sonnets

This literature criticism consists of approximately 34 pages of analysis & critique of Sonnet 29.
This section contains 10,056 words
(approx. 34 pages at 300 words per page)
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David Schalkwyk, University of Cape Town

In a previous essay on Shakespeare's sonnets and their relation to performance, I have suggested that it may not be especially fruitful to approach these sonnets in particular, and early modern Petrarchan poetry in general, by assuming that their linguistic aims are primarily epistemological.1 I argue in that essay that commentators' mistaken assumptions about what the language of the sonnets is doing lead them to overlook the ways in which a sonnet's conditions of address are embodied in particular social and political contexts of performance. To pursue the fact of embodiment as the condition of a sonnet's address, I claim,

is to problematize the relationship between the signified and the referent—that is, between the embodied addressee and addressor on the one hand and the actual circumstances of the address, including...

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This section contains 10,056 words
(approx. 34 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the What May Words Do? The Performative of Praise in Shakespeare's Sonnets