Sir Thomas Wyatt

(2735 words)
  • Jonathan Gibson (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Bitterness, verbal ambiguity and the insecurity of life at Henry VIII’s Court strike sparks off each other in Wyatt’s writing, creating poetry unparalleled for subtlety and power in the early Tudor period. Yoking English medieval tradition to the flashy imagery and paradoxes of continental Petrarchists (several of whose verse forms he introduced to English literature), Wyatt’s poems harp on failure, agony and betrayal. Erotic love, though, is not their sole subject matter. Throughout Wyatt’s writing runs a corrosive sense of instability and anxiety, a heightened awareness of the fragility not just of fortune and love but also of what we might call personal “identity”. In many of his texts, meanwhile, Wyatt bitterly dissects t…

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Gibson, Jonathan. "Sir Thomas Wyatt". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 March 2007
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]

Articles on Wyatt's works

  1. The Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt

Related Groups

  1. Renaissance and Humanism
  2. The Sonnet Tradition