Date of Award
early modern, renaissance humanism, Sir Thomas Wyatt, sonnet, Tudor court poetry, Wyatt
Author: Jeffery Moser
Title: CREATIVITY WITH PUREST ENERGY--HOW SIR THOMAS WYATT INTRODUCED MODERN ENGLISH POETICS
Advisor: Prof. Linda Bensel-Meyers
Degree Date: June 2010
The court poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-42) asserts a special confidence and boldness of the individual and his poetics that stand at the forefront of an ambitious, sure and powerful England which eventually came into place during his life and afterwards. Wyatt marks the start of a new literary period when humanity and art gradually diverged from religious rites and instruction, dramatic impulses for romantic love and mere desires for adventure, allegory and narrative to favor instead modern demands and conscious intellectualism. Wyatt's poetry best represents this distinct literary break from his native medieval predecessors and from writers who had already been challenged on the European Continent by the renaissance which began there about a century ahead of England's.
Transmitting and revising poetry from Italy, France and elsewhere, Wyatt introduced numerous poetic forms to England. Then, by experimenting with these new metrical forms and using native vernacular, he originated his own poetry. Wyatt's poetry also began to reflect a new attitude about human life, an attitude reflecting the flourishing of classical authorities somewhat at odds with old ideas. His early modern poetics would exceed beyond medieval literature's propensity for rhyme and the harsh depiction of nature's realities. Instead, he would offer an alternative to philosophic depth and poetic virtuosity that was mastered by Chaucer and imitated by others in England and on the European Continent. His would be a transformative kind of poetry, more direct and less narrative, in new and "irregular" prosody. And Wyatt's "new" poetry uniquely combined native traditions and classical influences in radically different tones and from ordered meters that did not restrict--actually, which served as a catalyst for--lyrical variations, prosodic innovations, and quite different and highly aesthetic expressions about universal truths and humanity's new-found boldness and intellect that was taking hold in Tudor England.
Wyatt's court-poet contemporaries and then successive poets like Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, and Donne to name only a few, would acknowledge the poetics that Wyatt first introduced and that they then improved upon in their own poetry to establish what is well-known as the Early Modern eras' best lyrics. However, without the clear voice and innovations by Wyatt, that new path in British life and literature undoubtedly would not have been advanced, at least not in the first half of the sixteenth century.
Moser, Jeffery R., "Creativity With Purest Energy--How Sir Thomas Wyatt Introduced Modern English Poetics" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 454.
Recieved from ProQuest
Jeffery R. Moser
British and Irish literature, Modern literature, Medieval literature