The Early Modern English Sonnet : Ever in Motion

Laetitia Sansonetti, Rémi Vuillemin & Enrica Zanin

This volume questions and qualifies commonly accepted assumptions about the early modern English sonnet: that it was a strictly codified form, most often organised in sequences, which only emerged at the very end of the sixteenth century and declined as fast as it had bloomed, and that minor poets merely participated in the sonnet fashion by replicating established conventions.

Drawing from book history and relying on close reading and textual criticism, this collection offers a more nuanced account of the history of the sonnet. It discusses how sonnets were written, published and received in England as compared to mainland Europe, and explores the works of major (Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser) and minor (Barnes, Harvey) poets alike. Reflecting on current editorial practices, it also provides the first modern edition of an early seventeenth-century Elizabethan miscellany including sonnets presumably by Sidney and Spenser.