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Speaking to YouContemporary Poetry and Public Address$
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Natalie Pollard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657001.001.0001

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Sweet Rose of England: Public Bodies

Sweet Rose of England: Public Bodies

(p.113) 5 Sweet Rose of England: Public Bodies
Speaking to You

C. H. Sisson

Oxford University Press

Sisson's addresses explore how far a poet should create ‘agreement’ between the poem of the present and past. Speaking to you through time, Sisson is in conversation with long-deceased auditors including Donne, Catullus, Thomas à Kempis, and Marcus Aurelius. Sisson's handling of the relationship of the body and passions, mind and reason, is in dialogue with Eliot's ‘dissociation of sensibility’. But why is Sisson concerned with historical, usually early modern, yous over others (usually contemporary)? Hill, Douglas Dunn, and Harrison are points of comparison, as the chapter traces the links between addresses to the nation in twentieth-century verse, and the early modern tradition of comprising ‘England’ through patriotic, propagandist, public addresses (Donne, Herbert, Milton and Jonson, Marvell's ‘Upon Appleton House’, and Herrick's Hesperides). For Sisson, England is less a concrete geographical location than a way of saying, a collective idea dependent upon language: ‘the saying is you’.

Keywords:   Sisson, Donne, dissociation of sensibility, England, Herrick, Marvell, nationality

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