What is in a Shakespeare Sonnet?
with Philip Marvin
Sunday 26th September 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm: £15 (UK time) via Zoom
WELCOME TO THE CENTRE FOR MYTH, COSMOLOGY AND THE SACRED’S SHAKESPEARE SERIES. THIS SESSION IS THE SECOND IN A SERIES OF THREE, EXPLORING SHAKESPEARE’S WORLD.
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About the session: A Shakespeare sonnet is only 14 lines long yet it can carry many hidden, mysterious depths within it. In this session we will go through a particular sonnet (or two) in detail and see what we can discover in terms of its subtle structure, inner meaning and emotional impact. Stepping outside some of the more standard critical appreciations of his love poetry we will ask: What is special about these sonnets? Who is speaking to whom? Who or what is the Beloved? What is the nature of the hidden life that may be evoked in the reader’s heart and mind through the narrative evolution, subtle verbal interchanges, sound structure and dramatic action of the poetry? How may we best enter the hidden life of each poem and not stay trapped in a dead world of conceptual thinking? How do the more mundane themes of jealousy of rivals, guilt, lust, fear of separation, emotional anguish, self- accusation, despair, disappointment, time’s destructive power and death’s inevitability etc transform into a transcendent communication that may, as Shakespeare repeatedly states, defeat Time and Death themselves and attain immortality?
Last lines of Sonnet 65:
O fearful meditation! Where, alack,
Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back,
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
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Philip Marvin, a former Financial Times and Reuters journalist, has run a wide variety of Shakespeare workshops for over 25 years. His approach is unusual and is greatly informed by a deep-rooted spiritual background in non-dualistic philosophy, particularly as expressed in Vedanta and Christian mysticism. He has taught groups for many years in this philosophical tradition. Philip is especially concerned with bringing out the different levels of meanings embedded in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets and their practical lessons for life. Apart from the normal textual analysis, his aim is always to help open up the direct, transformational potential within these works to awaken the soul through ‘entertainment’. There is a science in Shakespeare’s art.
For ten years he ran a highly successful series of “A Day with Shakespeare” events in which scholarly discussion and spiritual insight were combined in a programme that included dramatic excerpts played out by professional actors and talks by leading experts. He studied at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford upon Avon and recently completed his first ever Shakespeare-related film, ‘Love in Eternity’. He currently runs Zoom courses on Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets and for five years (pre Covid) ran a Shakespeare retreat week at his house in Puglia, southern Italy, which will be returning this September. For more information visit: https://www.shakespeareinside.com/