R. D. Laing: Sonnets

(598 words)
  • Daniel Burston (Duquesne University )
  • Gavin Miller (University of Glasgow)

R.D. Laing’s literary ambitions culminated in the publication of his Sonnets in 1979. The volume contains a sequence of 38 sonnets (with a concluding two-stanza lyric). There is no narrative pattern linking the sonnets. The collection moves from theme to theme, occasionally touching on psychiatric issues, but in the main taken up with more typical concerns such as love, death and spirituality. Writing in iambic pentameter, Laing does not use Petrarchan pattern of an octave and sestet rhyming abbaabba cdecde (or cdcdcd). Instead he uses the Shakespearean sonnet of abab cdcd efef gg, which he frequently varies with the pattern abba cddc effe gg, or by combining quatrains into octets, or …

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Burston, Daniel, Gavin Miller. "Sonnets". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16854, accessed 02 July 2015.]