The rhetoric of love: Voice in the Amoretti and the Songs and Sonets

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The rhetorics of Elizabethan sonnets and metaphysical lyrics reflect differing perceptions of the phenomenon of love. The sonneteer's voice separates lover from loved one with formal syntax, bifurcated pronouns, and images of pursuit and entrapment. The metaphysical voice unites the lovers with direct address, shared dialectics, and images of physical and intellectual equality.

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... The light she shines on him will increase because of its reflection in his adoration of her: "Yet since your light hath once enlumind me, / with my reflex yours shall increase" (13-14). As Okerlund (1982) pointed out, the poet's admiration of the lady "elevates their love into a spiritual phenomenon that transcends mere earthly matters" (39). In sonnet XVII he once again contrasts her "Angels face" (1) with "the world's worthlesse glory" (3). ...
... Instead the poet brings forth only the purest emotions when he visits her in her "bowre of rest" (7). According to Okerlund (1982) this sonnet represents "an argument between two aspects of the poet's soul -his spiritual being and his baser physicality. The speaker may be attempting to control passions which threaten the sacred purity of his love in a dialogue with self." ...
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This paper analyses Edmund Spenser's sonnet sequence Amoretti and its concluding sequel Epithalamion within the context of Puritanism. By highlighting the Puritanical concepts in Spenser's two poetic works, the two researchers demonstrate the aspects in which Spenser parts ways with the Petrarchan sonnet tradition. Spenser offers a pure, Christian love that ends in holy matrimony as an alternative to the unsanctified, unrequited love in Petrarchan sonnets. Moreover, this research identifies the segments of Spenser's poems wherein Platonism is exceedingly manifested. Through the textual examination of the two aforementioned works, it becomes evident that nuances of the Puritan faith come to light in Spenser's depiction of a holy, Christian courtship and marriage, in his portrayal of the lady as an embodiment of heavenly light in contrast to the inferiority of earthly existence and in his parallel presentation of the lover's suffering for his angelic lady as an allegorical reflection of the agony endured by the Puritan to gain Heavenly Grace.
Was God being ironic in commanding Eve not to eat fruit from the tree of wisdom? Carolyn J. Sharp suggests that many stories in the Hebrew Scriptures may be ironically intended. Deftly interweaving literary theory and exegesis, Sharp illumines the power of the unspoken in a wide variety of texts from the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Writings. She argues that reading with irony in mind creates a charged and open rhetorical space in the texts that allows character, narration, and authorial voice to develop in unexpected ways. Main themes explored here include the ironizing of foreign rulers, the prostitute as icon of the ironic gaze, indeterminacy and dramatic irony in prophetic performance, and irony in ancient Israel's wisdom traditions. Sharp devotes special attention to how irony destabilizes dominant ways in which the Bible is read today, especially when it touches on questions of conflict, gender, and the Other.
There apparently exists a dialectical tension between oratory and poetry, between rhetoric and poetic. Yet neither the speechmaker's or author's intention nor the spoken or written Gestalt of verbal messages offers sufficient criteria to make such distinctions. The decision must depend upon the production of meaning, which is always co‐produced by the reader or speaker and the listener within the possibilities, purposes, and needs of their lives. It is assumed that both are influenced by Gestalt (spoken or written), and that to influence others is the fundamental quality of being rhetoric. (Edited for publication by Caroline Drummond.)
In Indian aesthetics, the term rasa denotes both the mood of a poetic work and the state of awareness which permits auditors to behold the mood. The foremost influence on traditional Indian drama and poetry, the theory of rasa merits study by communication scholars on three grounds. First, it reveals how traditional Indian philosophy gives rise to standards for composing and auditing drama and other performances. Second, rasa theory and Aristotelian poetics embrace different goals and methods; comparing them can shed light on the nature of poetics and rhetoric. Third, communication scholars can further develop rasa theory by applying it to texts and performances outside the Indian culture, and by exploring its influence on auditors’ daily lives.
stated during a discussion of Donne's “dawn songs”. National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on “Humanist Rhetoric”
  • Madelon E Heatherington