12 Pages

Introduction: Songes and Sonettes Reconsidered

ByStephen Hamrick

This chapter argues for the fall of Troy as the imaginary point of origin, the crippling yet endlessly productive ur-trauma that is replayed and repeated throughout Richard Tottel's publications of 1557. In the second half of Surrey's translation, this skips to Book Four of Virgil's epic and his account of the failed attempt to establish a new Trojan kingdom in Carthage. However, also in the lyric verse of the Songs and Sonettes. Troy is a constant point of reference in the miscellany: particularly, perhaps, in Surrey's verse. Allusion to the matter of Troy in the Songs and Sonettes harbors the potential to expand beyond its merely local contexts and to begin first to draw in, and then ambiguously position itself in relation to, earlier versions of the Troy myth. Troy is both the name of what is lost and the motif that keeps loss in play, endlessly productive.