Autodidactic sonnets

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True to one of the themes in this issue of our journal, my essay raises two broadly pedagogical questions. First, what did Shakespeare learn about writing sonnets from his most accomplished contemporaries, Sidney and Spenser, and secondly what does he teach his own readers about how to read his sonnets? A single answer to both is proposed: he learned and taught that the abiding and primary subject of the sonnet is the sonnet itself and the kind of beauty it offers to readers. For want of a better term, “autodidactic” is proffered as a clumsy word to describe this two-way process of self-learning and self-teaching. © 2016 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number1237139
JournalCogent Arts & Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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