I'm also late on the sonnet discussion, but it's worth repeating what
Jon Quitslund says, that "I don't believe that Spenser in the Amoretti
accepts a Platonist philosophy,ö nor do I think that Shakespeare rejects
one. The sonnet form and the sonnet sequence, in the hands of these and
other poets, invites and accommodates many experiences, reflections,
ideas, and unresolved dilemmas." Specifically, for instance, in #45
Spenser plays with the Platonizing trope of the lady's inward self that
the lover can see as a mildly comic way of pacifying her irritation with
him. That doesn't mean that he takes the the idea literally--or that
the doesn't. One specifically anti-Platonic moment comes in one of the
late sonnets--86?--in which he mentions feeding on the lady's image in
her absence, and then denies that the image has enough to sustain him.
He wants the person. As many critics have pointed out, the Hymne to
Love ends with the hope of going to bed with the Lady, not with
ascending to a vision of the One.
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>>> Kenneth Gross <[log in to unmask]> 06/06/07 8:08 AM >>>
In the context of a comparison of Sp. and Sh. as sonnet-writers, it's
perhaps worth recalling Kent Hieatt's article "The Genesis of
Shakespeare's Sonnets: Spenser's Ruines of Rome: By Bellay," PMLA, Vol.
98, No. 5 (Oct., 1983), pp. 800-814, which argues in detail, and often
persuasively, that the unusual emphasis on questions of the generative
ruinous work of time, and survival in time, in Shakespeare's sonnets
shows a strong influence from the young (17 years?) Edmund Spenser's
translation of DuBellay's Les antiquites de Rome.