Blotted Lines rebuffs centuries of mythologization about the creative process--the idea that William Shakespeare "never blotted out line"--to argue that by studying how early modern writers faced the challenges of writing poetry, instructors today can empower their students' approaches to critical writing. Adhaar Noor Desai offers deeply researched accounts of how poetic labor intersected with early modern rhetorical theory, material culture, and social networks.
Tracing the productive struggles of such writers as George Gascoigne, Philip Sidney, John Davies of Hereford, Lady Anne Southwell, and Shakespeare across their manuscripts, Desai identifies in their work instances of discomposition: frustration, hesitation, self-doubt, and insecurity. Inspired to unmake their poems so that they might remake them, these poets welcomed discomposition because it catalyzed ongoing thinking and learning. Blotted Lines brings literary scholarship into conversation with modern composition studies, challenging early modern literary studies to treat writing as both noun and verb and foregrounding the ways poetry and criticism alike can model for students the cultivation of patience, collaboration, and risk in their writing.
About the Author
Adhaar Noor Desai is Assistant Professor of Literature at Bard College.