In this short introductory book, Professor Forster examines Petrarchism as a European phenomenon transcending national boundaries. He begins with a general survey of themes and conventions, providing, with quotation, something like a repertory of the devices. He then shows in an important historical study how various vernacular literatures were seeking for a renewal of poetic diction at the moment when Petrarchism was available to meet the need. The third study examines specific forms and shows how realism in love-relationships could be accommodated within the tradition. A fourth shows how the literary conventions, applied to England's Virgin queen, could serve political and national ends; and the last shows the devices still being used in Goethe's Faust. This is a learned and engaging book, ranging freely among literatures: Latin, Italian, French, Dutch, English, and German, with translations provided. It gives an introduction to one of the most important and longest-lasting traditions in comparative literary studies.
Introductory note; Notes on illustrations; Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. The Petrarchan manner: an introduction; 2. European petrarchism as training in poetic diction; 3. Conventional safety values: alba, pastourelle and epithalamium; 4. The political petrarchism of the Virgin Queen; 5. Lynkeus' masque in Hoethe's Faust II; Notes; Bibliography; Tailpiece; Index.
In this short introductory book, Professor Forster examines Petrarchism as a European phenomenon transcending national boundaries. Beginning by surveying its conventions, he moves on to discuss how Petrarchism provided a renewal of poetic diction for vernacular literature. He also discusses how the tradition can accommodate realism in love-relationships and serve political ends.
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