The early modern English sonnet

Ever in motion

Edited by Laetitia Sansonetti, Rémi Vuillemin and Enrica Zanin

The early modern English sonnet


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  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4439-3
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: April 2020
  • BIC Category: Literature, Literary studies: c 1400 to c 1600, POETRY / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, LITERARY CRITICISM / Poetry, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800, Early Modern Literature
  • Series: The Manchester Spenser


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.


Laetitia Sansonetti, Rémi Vuillemin, Enrica Zanin

Shaping the sonnet, from Italy and France to England

1 English Petrarchism: From commentary on poetry to poetry as commentary
William J. Kennedy

2 Early modern theories of the sonnet: Accounts of the quatorzain in Italy, France and England in the second half of the sixteenth century
Carlo Alberto Girotto, Jean-Charles Monferran, Rémi Vuillemin

Performing the English sonnet

3 Sonnet-mongers on the early modern English stage
Guillaume Coatalen

4 In and out: Shakespeare's shifting sonnets. From Love's Labour's Lost to The Passionate Pilgrim
Sophie Chiari

Placing the sonnet: Sonnets isolated or sequenced

5 'Small parcelles': Unsequenced sonnets in the sixteenth century
Chris Stamatakis

6 ' ... and sweetly nectarize this bitter gall': Gabriel Harvey's sonnet therapy
Elisabeth Chaghafi

7 Barnabe Barnes's sonnet sequences: Moral conversion and prodigal authorship
Rémi Vuillemin

Editing the sonnet

8 The Muses Garland (1603): Fragment of a printed verse miscellany
Hugh Gazzard

9 Sonnet sequence as sound continuum: How we read Shakes-speares Sonnets
Andrew Eastman


Rémi Vuillemin is Senior Lecturer in English language and literature at Université de Strasbourg, France.

Laetitia Sansonetti is Senior Lecturer in English literature and translation studies at Université Paris Nanterre, France.

Enrica Zanin is Senior Lecturer in comparative early modern literature at Université de Strasbourg, France.

The early modern English sonnet

Edited by Laetitia Sansonetti, Rémi Vuillemin, Enrica Zanin

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

Paperback £20.00 / $29.95

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