‘This word redeme’: Redemptive Paraphrase in the Penitential Psalms

Chris Stamatakis

in Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Rhetoric of Rewriting

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644407
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738821 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘This word redeme’: Redemptive Paraphrase in the Penitential Psalms

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses the practice of rewriting found in Wyatt’s paraphrases of the seven penitential psalms. Wyatt’s paraphrases frustrate correspondences between poet and speaker, and show a concern—in both theme and material condition—with verbal redemption. Within the sequence, phonocentric pleas for forgiveness are answered by chirographic acts of correction. Redemption of the penitent sinner is inseparable from redemption of a fallen lexis: words and speakers pursue an elusive, grammatological state of grace. Wyatt’s Davidic speaker, wrestling like Luther with the keywords ‘justice’ and ‘mercy’, is engaged in a process of approximating his words to the Word (Logos). This chapter appraises Wyatt’s departures from his sources (principally Aretino’s rendition of the psalms with accompanying prologues), and examines the bibliographic devices by which verbal redemption can be traced in Wyatt’s handling. Particular consideration is paid to Wyatt’s rescriptive interlineations in his holograph copy of the text in the Egerton Manuscript.

Keywords: Wyatt; penitential psalms; paraphrase; redemption; grace; Fisher; Aretino; interlineation; the oral and the written; justice and mercy

Chapter.  12447 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.