Love as a Theme in Literature Not always about happy love Sometimes tragic, sometimes about the LOSS of love Sometimes about sex rather than love Sometimes about admiration, flirtation, or regret Sometimes more about the IDEA of love than love itself Sometimes about the complexities of love, and therefore can be difficult to interpret Often contain lots of imagery, and often nature imagery
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote How Do I Love Thee in 1850, and it remains on of the most well-known and often quoted love poems in English. She and her husband, poet Robert Browning, had what seems to be a bit of a real- life love story. She was a fragile and sick woman who was forced to live at home with an extremely controlling father, but wrote beautiful poetry. He was the famous poet who fell in love with her poems and wrote passionate, scandalous letters to her, eventually convincing her to run away with him. They married and spent the rest of their lives travelling in Europe and writing poetry. They had their ups and downs, but by all accounts a very happy and successful relationship.
Bonus Shakespeare! "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day p.504 This poem, along with the other Shakespearean sonnet that we read for class, is part of a sequence of sonnets that Shakespeare wrote. There are 154 of them in all. This is number eighteen. The point of this sonnet cycle and Elizabethan love poetry in general was twofold: the poet was to praise the beloved, of course, but showing poetic skill and wit (which for the Elizabethans meant skill with language and putting together ideas and images in a new and startling way) was an equally important goal.
"Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day Questions In "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day," why is the summer's day not adequate for comparison? What is it that makes the subject of the poem (the "beloved") immortal? What is the "problem" in this poem? Where is the "turn or shift? Sonnets almost always include a turn. Why does the poet use nature images in this poem? How is this a poem about love? Compare this poem to the Shakespearean sonnet you read for homework. How are they similar? Differeent?
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (p. 693) and The Nymphs Reply to the Shepherd p. (699) Both of these poems are pastoral poems. This means that they idealize and romanticize life in the country as pure, carefree, and idyllic (peaceful). The Nymphs Reply was written in direct response to the first poem. Poets who were familiar with each others work would often respond to one another in this way.
Questions for Passionate Shepherd and The Nymphs Reply The Passionate Shepherd to His Love How does the shepherd depict the life that he is offering his beloved? What does he do to try to convince her to come be with him? Does this romanticized view of nature detract from the poem as a "love poem," or add to it? The Nymphs Reply How does the nymph answer the shepherd's offer? Why? How does the speaker in this poem put "her" own twist on the ideas in "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"? Do you see any similarities between this poem and "Shall I Compare Thee or any other poems you read for homework?
Tonight I Can Write" p. 695 By Pablo Neruda We move forward in history several hundred years here, but many of the themes, if not the treatment of those themes, remain the same. What differences/similarities between this poem and the other do you notice? How does the attitude toward love in this poem compare to the others we read for today? Look at specific lines in them poems as you make your comparisons. See also What My Lips Have Kissed p. 638 by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Essay 1 Questions? Review the Prompt together.
Essay 1 Extension! I am giving everyone an extension on Essay 1. Original due date was this Thursday, March 13. NEW due date gives you the weekend to work on your essay and improve it. Essay 1 is now due on Tuesday, March 18.
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