The Sonnets: Background Readings

There are two sets of background readings for the Sonnets: some extensive excerpts from the most widely read "text book" of the period on the subject of proper courtly behaviour, The Courtier. The passages I have chosen give insight into the profoundly influential tradition of courtly love that lies behind the whole sonnet tradition--and which both affected and amused Shakespeare.

You will also be invited to read sonnets in the English tradition, influenced heavily by the great Italian sonneteer, Petrarch.

  1. Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier
  2. Some pre-Shakespearean sonnets

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This page last updated April 20, 1997. Enquiries to Michael Best,
© Michael Best, The University of Victoria, and the Open University of B.C.