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The Rift in The LuteAttuning Poetry and Philosophy$
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Maximilian de Gaynesford

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198797265

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198797265.001.0001

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(p.193) 14 Naming
The Rift in The Lute

Maximilian de Gaynesford

Oxford University Press

‘Naming’ is another essential feature of the Chaucer-type: the verb in the sentential clause is a word for what the speaker does in uttering the sentence. This is, in part, a matter of self-reference, since an utterance may be said to refer to itself when it names the very act its uttering performs. Here again, Shakespeare plays with the form. The complexities turn on the success of relations between uttering and action. The effects achieved thereby are broad and subtle in showing how much and how little may be achieved in utterance, and in making salient the distinction between acts that uttering may and may not perform. On occasion, these complexities unlock a poem, the path to its meaning made straighter by asking why the speaker assembles the features of the austere form but employs a verb that represents kinds of act that uttering may not perform.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, sonnets, Chaucer-type, naming, epistolatory

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