Term of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Julia Griffin

Committee Member 1

Mary Villeponteaux

Committee Member 2

Robert Costomiris

Abstract

I have chosen to focus on several poets of the long 1590's, since I would argue that together they represent, for the first time, a confluence of literary love traditions that have previously existed independently across multiple centuries, nations and languages. First, I consider Ovid and the influence of the witty, Ovidian elegy love tradition as practiced by Christopher Marlowe and John Donne. Then I will discuss Petrarch and the serious sonnet sequence tradition, the influence of which is evident in the sonnet sequences of Sir Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser. Next, since both the afore-mentioned love traditions are based outside of marriage, I will discuss how the reality of the place for marriage in society in the 1590's and the literary representations of love and marriage create a gap, one that Edmund Spenser bridges with his joint publication of his sonnet sequence, Amoretti, with his marriage poem, Epithalamion. I aim to show how these traditions developed in England in the same, brief, period of time (the long 1590's) and that they simultaneously flourished, even though they seem to be so different. Finally, I argue that William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet exemplifies the convergence of these traditions.

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