Thomas Lodge: Phyllis (3325 words)


Phillis: honoured with pastorall sonnets, elegies, and amorous delights (1593) was the ever-willing Thomas Lodge’s attempt at the latest thing in poetry, the printed sonnet sequence. Having heard “great report” of her “learning and virtue”, he dedicated his work to the septuagenarian and intensely material-minded Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, in a shot that most likely disappeared into the dark.

Solicitation of a distant woman who could, but who in practice almost certainly will not respond, is the business of most sonnet sequences. Such sets of poems tend to offer an emotional and sometimes literal geography based on distance, across which distance travels the adoring gaze, erotic …

Citation: Booth, Roy. "Phyllis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 March 2019 [, accessed 19 June 2021.]

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