The english sonnet in manuscript, print and mass media

ARthur F. Marotti, Marcelle Freiman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


As communication theorists have repeatedly observed, each medium meta-communicatively defines the nature of the messages being transmitted as well as the relationship between their senders and receivers. It matters whether one encounters texts in oral, handwritten, printed or electronic forms. It also matters whether the texts are spoken or sung; recorded by amateur or professional scribes, either in inelegant or presentationally artful forms; published in ephemeral pamphlets, newspapers or magazines; printed in paperback or hardback books; experienced on radio, television, film, tape, records, CDs or DVDs; or found in various forms of casual or institutionally mediated emails and websites. Finally, the cultural context is crucial: the oral or written (scripted and/or printed) or electronic and visual modalities dominant in the world in which texts are transmitted shape the different kinds of relationships their originators and receivers have to them. Marshall McLuhan’s assertion that ‘the medium is the message’ was a provocative overstatement, but it is certainly true that messages are inseparable from the media through which they are transmitted, and the mediated message in its material, rather than ideal, form is the one that is experienced in particular ways. And so there is no culturally faithful history of a literary form such as the sonnet without considering the communicative channels through which such poetry flowed through the late medieval, early modern, modern and postmodern eras. This is true of the general history of the form as well as of that of the sonnet in the anglophone world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to the Sonnet
EditorsA.D. Cousins, Peter Howarth
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780511973758
ISBN (Print)9780521514675, 0521514673, 9780521735537
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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