Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Jonson: "Inviting a Friend to Supper" and "To Penshurst"

 Sir Philip Sidney at Penshurst (miniature by Isaac Oliver)

I realize that some of you won't see this before we meet for class. That's fine--hopefully some of you will. I really just want to get some thoughts down. As I re-read these two wonderful poems, I'm struck by the fact that they seem to have some core attributes, some essential imaginative and functional qualities, in common with the epistolary epigrams that were also among your assigned reading in the anthology.

At the same time, there are important differences between these two poems and the epigrams. For example, there seems to me to be some conceptual keywords that are significant in "Inviting a Friend to Supper" and "To Penshurst" which we don't encounter in the epigrams. These include "place," "hospitality," "environment," "practice," and "nature/culture." You may be thinking of others, too--if so, I'd love to hear about them. At any rate, mull this over.

One more thing. In each of these poems, the last line contains a single word that strikes me as difficult, multifaceted, and very consequential to the poem overall. Here they are:

"Inviting a Friend to Supper": "liberty"

"To Penshurst": "dwells"

Let's make sure we talk about those words at some on Wednesday morning.

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