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Sonnets – little squares of text, fourteen lines rhymed in a fixed scheme – have been written by most major poets working in most European languages from the thirteenth century until today. The form has been interdisciplinary since its birth: probably invented by a lawyer, it was then adopted by musicians and courtiers, performed on stage, incorporated into paintings, and used to transmit political intrigues.
Its disciplinary connections can be seen in myriad ways, perhaps most famously in the work of Michelangelo, the Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet, who not only created sonnets and buildings coevally but used his architectural drawings to record early drafts and fragments of later completed sonnets, later set to music by Benjamin Britten.
Inspired by the sonnet’s own interdisciplinary origins, Sonnet Structures seeks to find out more about the sonnet through other disciplines, and about those disciplines through the sonnet. Our vision is to bring together experts in law, architecture, music, translation, and digital humanities to investigate the features which have kept the sonnet alive for seven centuries, and their parallels in each field: pattern, symmetry, balance, reversal, compression, sequence, repetition.