4. To Scorn or To “Scorn not the Sonnet”

  1. Charles Mahoney Associate Professor of English
  1. Daniel Robinson Professor

Published Online: 3 MAY 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch4

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

A Companion to Romantic Poetry

How to Cite

Robinson, D. (2010) To Scorn or To “Scorn not the Sonnet”, in A Companion to Romantic Poetry (ed C. Mahoney), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444390650.ch4

Editor Information

  1. University of Connecticut, USA

Author Information

  1. Widener University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 MAY 2012
  2. Published Print: 26 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405135542

Online ISBN: 9781444390650



  • To Scorn or To “Scorn not the Sonnet”;
  • Wordsworth's “Scorn not the Sonnet” - appearing among his Miscellaneous Sonnets;
  • Charlotte Smith's Elegiac Sonnets, reviving the form - capturing late eighteenth-century zeitgeist;
  • Smith, missing from list of poets in “Scorn not the Sonnet” - too contemporaneous a name to enlist in Wordsworth's appeal to an established tradition;
  • Wordsworth's sonnet, predicating - a fourteen-line poem that rhymes;
  • Wordsworth, admiring - a no less important structural variation in Milton's practice;
  • Milton's elision of the volta - and rhetorical division of the Italian sonnet;
  • Wordsworthian-Miltonic variation, potent rejoinder - to the critic's contempt;
  • Coleridge, a cavalier attitude - toward formal demands of the sonnet;
  • women poets, Anna Seward and Mary Robinson's - claim to poetic legitimacy, writings of legitimate sonnets


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • References and Further Reading