Sonnets and Hypertext

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

I’ve been thinking about sonnet sequences. Why? Because I’ve been thinking a lot about links, linking methods and aesthetics, and other forms of possible digital signatures. Here’s what I mean by signature. Most people who’ve read classic sonnets can tell the difference between Shakespeare and Sidney:

With what sharp checks I in myself am shent,
When into Reason’s audit I do go:
And by just counts myself a bankrout know
Of all those goods, which heav’n to me hath lent:

Sidney’s sonnet 18 of Astrophel and Stella bears a certain stylistic signature. After several studies of the work, Sidney begins to sound like Sidney. The sonnet as a form has a lot going for it, mostly its definitional restrictions: rhyme scheme, numerical line requirement, just to name a few. Within those rules, there are very few limitations: imagery in the sonnet is limitless.


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