A Socially-Distanced Romeo and Juliet Ballet at Sadler’s Wells
Andreea Scridon, MSt. in Creative Writing
Sentinels Aloft: An Indifference of Birds Book Review
Vicki Lee, MSt in English Literature
How Does a Poem Mean? Modes of Expression in Sonnets from the Portuguese
Gregor Bauer, Faculties of English and Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages
How does a poem mean? A formalist approach to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850) may provide a partial answer by demonstrating a poetry-specific potential of meaning-creation. To this end, this essay offers new perspectives on Barrett Browning’s playful interventions against a one-dimensional love discourse through poly-dimensional semiotics and explores how her sonnets expand the scope of linguistic expressability by transcending central axiomata of Saussurian structuralism avant la lettre.
Numerous acrostics permeating the sonnets subvert their putative senses, but for a lack of formalist analysis, these have not previously been discovered and negotiated in scholarly works. This essay demonstrates how throughout Sonnets from the Portuguese, the fictional order is unhinged and the diegesis shifts to the reader’s material reality as language becomes indexical. Thus, space for a simultaneousness of contradictory discourses is melded in the tension between poetic form and explicit meaning, within which the woman poet creates and asserts her voice.