Elizabethan Sonnet See English sonnet

EMBLEM The Renaissance emblem was a genre where the text and image were melded into "speaking pictures" or "silent parables." An emblem poem is dependent on its image as much as its words. The Italian writer Andrea Alciati (1492-1550) is credited with producing the first emblem book, as well as with creating the term emblem.

Each emblem has three parts: the inscriptio (motto printed above the picture), the pictura (the [allegorical] picture), and the subscriptio (prose or verse below the image which explains the moral application). All three parts had to be included in order for the emblem to be complete. As a whole, the emblem becomes a function of "wit," as it was termed in the early modern era, whereby the mind imposed connections on signi-fiers, or understood the inherent meanings revealed through art.

Pure word emblems are verbal structures in which words convey both picture and meaning, especially as a unifying element in poetry. These poems tend to be sonnets and epigrams, the former because the common octave/sestet division encourages a natural division into "pictorial" and "interpretation" sections, the latter because the form lends itself to wittiness and moralizing. See also allegory, ekphrasis.

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