Abstract

This essay proposes that Shakespeare’s sonnet sequence, parts of which were written after the vogue for amorous sonnet sequences had passed, makes programmatic use of its own outmodedness. Style in the period operated as a technique of class consolidation among the elite and, therefore, as a site of class struggle. But by abandoning the ambition either for timeliness or timelessness, the sonnets encounter a kind of benevolent neglect, where love can develop apart from the timely pressures of social climbing, fashion, and the imperative to procreate. The plural temporality of outmodedness--the way it situates a persistent form of the past within the present--also forces style to confront the arbitrariness of its own procedures.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 759-787
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-14
Open Access
No
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