What Is A Petrarchan Sonnet?


1 Answers

Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem which must rhyme, and has general line length of ten syllables; within this definition, there are different types.
The sonnet form originated in Italy, about 7-800 years ago, and the first type to reach England (in the 16th century) was the Italian or Petrachan sonnet, named after the poet Petrarch who made it famous in his love poems around 1335. This form really consists of two short poems, an octave (8 lines) followed by a sestet (6 lines.) At the end of the first 8 lines, the poem should change direction, and the final sestet has different rhymes (a typical Petrarchan rhyming scheme is abbaabba/ cdecde.)
The effect of this form is to create a "pause in thought" where the changed rhymes underline the way the poet has started a new idea or added to the previous one. A good example is John Keats' "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer", where Keats uses the Petrarchan form to contrast his feelings before and after "looking into" a book.

Answer Question