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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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Shakespeare as Professional

Shakespeare as Professional

The Economy of Revision in Sonnets 1–60

(p.285) Chapter 4 Shakespeare as Professional
Petrarchism at Work

William J. Kennedy

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers Shakespeare’s editorial practices in Sonnets 1–60. In them, the strange combination of early rare and late rare words suggests late revisions of early drafts, and the prominence of echoes from Philip Sidney’s and Edmund Spenser’s sonnets likewise suggests a deliberate incorporation of their work not found elsewhere in Shakespeare’s sequence. It is unknown how much autobiographical freight Sonnets carries, and whether revisions—if any—intensify or diminish the author’s relationship to the poetic speaker. The published Sonnets nonetheless invests a fair amount of irony in the speaker’s hesitant advancement, much as Astrophil and Stella and Amoretti do in theirs, and this investment appears palpable in sonnets 1–60.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s editorial practices, poetic speaker, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, revisions

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