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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Shakespeare’s Sonnets relate intriguingly to Joachim Du Bellay’s Antiquitez, probably through Spenser’s Ruines of Rome as well as to Du Bellay’s La vieille courtisanne (translated by Gervase Markham) and his ‘J’ai oublié l’art de petrarquizer’. Drawn to the discourse of ruination, as witness also passages in his Lucrece, Shakespeare would have found in Du Bellay’s poetry a vocabulary with which to lament the depredations of time, images of the human body as a vulnerable city, the ambiguities of anti-Petrarchan satire that exploits the same vocabulary it renounces, and the paradoxes of a nothing, a zero, that is also an all, a globe or Globe. That a ruined abbey makes a mystifyingly anachronistic offstage appearance in Titus Andronicus is also a reminder of the two writers’ shared interest in a city whose collapse both created tragedy and cleared room for later writers and nationhoods.

Keywords: Shakespeare, Sonnets, Du Bellay / DuBellay, Spenser, Rome, ruins, Markham, time, Titus Andronicus, nothing

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