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Petrarchism at WorkContextual Economies in the Age of Shakespeare$
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William J. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700019

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700019.001.0001

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Owning Up to Furor

Owning Up to Furor

The “Poets’ War” and Its Aftermath in Sonnets 100–126

(p.264) Chapter 3 Owning Up to Furor
Petrarchism at Work

William J. Kennedy

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the influences of the so-called “poets’ war” in the Sonnets 100–126. Most of these poems belonged to a period when Shakespeare faced competition posed by a new generation of classically educated poets and playwrights. Ben Jonson’s revival of Horatian literary precepts spurred John Marston, George Chapman, and Thomas Dekker to respond sometimes rancorously to his imperious tenets. For much of 1599–1601 these poet-playwrights clamored for attention by satirizing one another. The effects of their rivalry bore an imprint upon late Elizabethan and early Jacobean poetry and drama. For the most part, Shakespeare remained an outside observer of the squabble, though eventually the warring parties would reconcile and Shakespeare would end up collaborating with its major participants.

Keywords:   poets’ war, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, John Marston, George Chapman, Thomas Dekker, satire, late Elizabethan poetry, early Jacobean poetry, Shakespeare’s Sonnets

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