‘Pastyme with good companye’:Balets and Answer-Words

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

‘Pastyme with good companye’:Balets and Answer-Words

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


Show Summary Details


This chapter examines the oral textuality of lyrics (‘balets’) circulating within the Tudor court, and discusses the phenomenon of answer poems in this literary culture. Speakers in these balets are often no more than rhetorical effects—ventriloquized personae whose plangent utterances serve primarily to display the poet’s sprezzatura (effortless artistry), as advocated by Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano. Wyatt turns an inherited stock of amatory conventions on their head, and exploits the variability of repeated refrains to write, self-consciously, about the act of writing amatory verse. The narrative of these balets, in which we typically find a hapless, unrequited speaker, contrasts with their material condition, as they circulate within and are answered by a literary company. Readers are invited to respond to the verse that is exchanged in these textual networks, and to exploit the page space beneath poems to pen answers that sustain the scripted dialogue and renew the intertextual play.

Keywords: Wyatt; balets; personae; refrains; Castiglione; sprezzatura; networks; answer poetry; page space; dialogue

Chapter.  17583 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.