Andrew Lang, Edward B. This problem he links to the fact that: Narrative is not treated as one possible literary form but as the very condition of experience, which is made intelligible by narrative form that traces causal sequence and represents experience as something accomplished and able to be narrated. While many of my secondary sources may be dated most consisting of dusty volumes from the early s , it is into this effort of the rehabilitation of the lyric that I submit this study and from this movement that I justify the stakes of this argument.
Constituting the lyric as a clearly defined category of poetic creation, Culler ultimately prepares to prescribe the remedy for this critical malaise: a return to the study of the lyric. A petrarchian sonnet is, therefore, one that imitates one of the true Petrarchan variety. For the poets of Renaissance France, Petrarch is, if only mythically so, a codifier of a form and a figurehead for a structure and a thematic. This lover, Petrarch, set himself apart from all other poets in working with a relatively new poetic form to conceive of a lyrical model through which one could best express both the anguish and elation of passionate love.
In other words, it was imperative that a poet use the sonnet. To this list we could add various other names. Still, the choice not to write sonnets to express love—especially before the modern era—would appear to be an even more deliberate action than would choosing to write sonnets. Still, I argue that the sonnet remains the most lyrical of these forms—while also remaining the most recognizable.
The sheer length and complex rhetorical structure of the elegiac Pindaric Greek or Horatian Latin ode generally limit the study even recognition of the genre to specialists. The musicality and variations of the popular medieval narrative ballad tends to be less lyrical thematically, less rigorous formally and, ultimately, less recognizable as a poetic form. As my analysis will show in the third and fourth chapters, the dizain is lyrically inferior to the sonnet as it hinges on a progression to a final mot spirituel. I will discuss the dizain later.
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Traditionally reserved for comedic purposes, the limerick, despite its fixed meter and rhyme scheme, is sooner to be found penciled onto locker room walls than crafted into lyrical verse. And, while conforming to a set syllabic count, the haiku aside from being non-western in origin ignores most other formal conventions i. However, her valuable study on Renaissance verse, for the most part, ignores the sonnet, choosing instead to focus on other verse forms. According to Paul Oppenheimer in The Birth of the Modern Mind, its self-conscious and meditative qualities are the crowing feature of the sonnet as a lyrical form For our current interests, following the argument of Culler, that which is lyrical appeals to the classical tradition of metric verse and form that could theoretically be accompanied by the lyre, as explained by Northrop Frye in his Anatomy of Criticism as well as poetry expressing personal, subjective sentiments within a set, given, and repeatable form.
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The anthropological origins for the lyrical genre, coming from Frye, Culler, and elsewhere, will constitute a major subject of my second chapter. Jean-Michel Maulpoix, in his essay Du lyrisme states this fact quite nicely—stressing a point that will resurface: [ Still, with other lyrical models that do speak of passion, like Dante, Sappho, and even the fictional Orpheus and Apollo, to what exactly should we attribute the universal appeal of the particularly Petrarchian verse form; and, why does the Petrarchian sonnet remain the lyrical ideal for expressing passionate love?
In attempts to respond to this question, I return to another facet of my title. Austin and Searle. In proposing a linguistic origin and 8 It could also be argued that in its parsimonious presentation, the sonnet is the simplest form to analyze critically. In conversation, Eric Gans a long-time teacher of the 19th-century French sonnet has mentioned that this is the one form suited to study in its entirety in the minute academic hour. And, thanks to it being such a short, dynamic form, I can also justify its reproduction as a whole in my analyses due to the fact that it is so very brief, free-standing and entirely integrated.
Still, it remains to be stated that an even more concise form that upholds the interests of parsimony is the epigrammatic or Scevian dizain; however, for reasons to be explored in Chapter Four, this deceivingly more complex form is less ritualistically repeatable and less obviously lyrical. Tylor, Sir James Frazer, Edith Hamilton, Northrop Frye, Eric Gans, and, most recently, as we have seen, Jonathan Culler that attempts to understand literary genres in terms of human and social phenomena. At the same time, tracing this form back to a relationship between man and the Sacred, I also appeal to the sociological schools of thought of Durkheim, Mauss, Caillois, Eliade, etc.
As the poet appeals to his dearly beloved through an imperative speech act, his petition is inevitably and perpetually denied, only further fueling his passion in both senses of the term: desire and suffering. The rhetorical constraints of the Petrarchian sonnet allow for this exchange to occur and achieve a resolution—albeit always negative—in the most parsimonious and repeatable way.
Again, we will deal with these issues in due time. I explain Maulpoix further down in this very same paragraph. The way out is obvious. One must abandon attempts to define the general nature of the lyric or the lyrical. Nothing beyond generalities of the tritest kind can result from it. Culler 11 According to Wellek, there is no way to mimetically recreate individual human sentiment through an artificial, universal poetic form.
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However, one may notice that in this list Wellek neglects to directly mention the sonnet as a form upon whose features we should focus our study of the lyric; and, while the form may be implied, in so doing, Wellek ignores, as I will venture to demonstrate in this study, the key lyrical genre for effectively expressing subjective desire—however intense, inward or immediate it may be.
It is through the very dynamic structure of his universal, constrained poetic artifice that he is able to recreate the individual subjectivity of the moment of passionate desire. It is that the personal, or the thrill of the mind revealed for all to see, in all of its individual intensity, may be possible only when the methods of the poetry are impersonal. The greatest intimacy may emerge from the greatest artifice […].
Is Petrarch, the great lover and innovator, merely a figurative reference, a mythical being whose contributions to the codification of a lyrical form make further creations or explorations in his field possible much like what Freud is for psychoanalysis or Hegel for dialectical thought? The sonnet was, rather, a formal artistic choice, albeit one that was difficult to avoid with few exceptions for many centuries.
Thus we have an ethical imperative from Du Bellay, understood in terms of predicate logic. As this study focuses on the first love sonnets in the French tradition, I will maintain my focus there. Briefly tracing the evolution of the sonnet from Giacomo through Dante and to its codification under Petrarch, I will prepare the groundwork for an examination of Petrarchism as the sonnet makes its triumphant entry into France in the midth century.
Next, I will focus on the structure of the sonnet, referencing attempts—from the Renaissance to the present day—to explain and establish possible rhetorical functions of the fixed, fourteen-verse construct. Finally, departing from technical analysis of the sonnet structure, I will turn to two major fields in Renaissance studies: 1 Theories of Imitation and Inspiration, and 2 Neoplatonic theories of Love and Transcendence, both of which have an important place within Petrarchism. Organizing the first French sonneteers into three historically- and sociologically-determined groups for analysis, I hope to defend my theory of the Petrarchian sonnet as lyrical imperative in Renaissance France.
And, while perhaps distancing itself both structurally and thematically from purely Petrarchan models as it moves into France with new forms of Neoplatonism and Renaissance notions of invention, imitation, varietas, etc. Strange though it may seem, the organization of this chapter unwittingly resembles the logical structure of the sonnet that it will presently seek to lay out: two sections of historical survey ultimately give way to a concrete synthesis that allows us to progress to another chapter of the study.
As a starting point, let us trace this progression. A Concise History of the Sonnet In the period immediately following the Revolution of and the dawn of the modern age, the sonnet—the imported, imitated invention of Petrarch that would place boughs of laurel on the crowns of poets in the 16th and earlyth centuries—was an all but forgotten genre.
In an age of obsession with encyclopedic knowledge, scholars took to the archives in attempts to unearth the origins of the sonnet. In , E. Since the s, the treatment of the sonnet has been flavored by the implementation of theoretical apparatuses and the fine- toothed comb of revisionist histories. Still, these modern theorists are neither first, nor go furthest, in claiming the French origins of the sonnet.
Often composed of lengthy strophes, or stanzas, with complex meters and rhyme schemes, and intended to be sung usually by the poet-composer-musician himself, it was a poetry of kings, or in some cases noblewomen. Their poetry, which was thus clearly meant for public entertainment before a highly sophisticated group, made fashionable a love relationship, or courtly love situation, which possessed certain unusual and deliberately artificial qualities.
This introspective invention, focusing on the self and departing from the performative poetry of the Middle Ages Oppenheimer 24 , presented a new poetic form to lyrically represent the more personal sentiments of passionate love. Others in the court of Frederick II, including Jacopo Mostacci, Pier della Vigna and Frederick himself, composed poems in the sonnet form, constituting what is known as the Scuola siciliana. The French might call this description a litote, an extreme understatement. Surely, the sonnet does, on occasion, adapt itself to different themes; however, as this study will show, its principal theme, especially with Giacomo, Dante and Petrarch and before in France, is indubitably that of passionate love.
With Giacomo, lyrical expression had found its ideal form of introspective expression, one that would continue to develop through the efforts of the Dolce stil nuovo, which includes Dante, Cavalcanti, Latini, Civo in the Tuscan school to the north Jasinski ; Oppenheimer For him, those of the Dolce stil nuovo represent without wanting to diminish the importance of the work of Dante a step in somewhat of a more allegorical direction in the development of the love sonnet, differing from the Sicilians in that he and the Tuscans […] favoured more spontaneity, more of the ardour of the wooer; but, they were nevertheless aware that the lady was entirely symbolical.
Indeed, they were not only aware of it; they said so—and this was their novelty. De Rougemont Embracing a largely medieval or Christian symbolism, these poets seem to further distance themselves from a subjective, introspective form of self-expression. Bernard de Clairvaux. Although born of the desire for Beatrice, the sonnets of Dante as well as those of the other poets of the Dolce stil nuovo formulate love in very different terms than does Petrarch.
With the dolce stil nuovo in late thirteenth-century Italy the lady is assimilated to the divine, of which she becomes a sort of symbol. The poetic position is reflexive and descriptive. Petrarch takes up and assimilates both these traditions. Perhaps his original intention was to express genuine frustration in love through the inherited conventions of the dolce stil nuovo. He oscillates between the restrained wooing and distant adoration.
But the beloved Laura remains for him a real woman, whose beauty intoxicates him and whose physical presence excites him. Hence he can hymn her various physical attributes—eyes, hair, skin, etc. Nonetheless, love is not a virtue in itself, for he realises that his love is a passion and that passion is sinful. But he wants both passion and purification, and cannot always balance the two. Petrarch, however, would borrow from the two and add an essential element to the form: a passion that would provide the sonnet its vital rhetorical force.
Oppenheimer 8 ] In the opening eight verses, where not only syllables but entire words are repeated in an ABABABAB form, Giacomo gives us a repetition of a number of figures, focusing on the painfully passionate moment of il innamoramento—many of which love as a spear, cold fire, the eyes, mirrors, etc. As opposed to the last sonnet, in this one Giacomo comes closer to expressing the sentiment of passionate love, but it is still allegorized, expressed to a third person, with another moral lesson available after the volta.
With another poem suggesting the potential of positive resolution and an antidote to love, the early sonnets appear to want to heal love rather than experience it. Petrarch understood passionate love and the pains that accompany human desire, and, in his sonnet, would develop a way to poetically render and even celebrate it. No longer was the desired woman a potential help-meet to share and assuage the pains of love or a figure of comfort to which we have recourse when overburdened by love. With Petrarch, the hybrid poet-lover persona was born and in his verse we witness both the evocation and realization of the futility of love, where the potential fulfillment of desire is presented ephemerally, only to evaporate in the short, verse form.
Almost instantaneously, the Petrarchian sonnet would be adopted as the ideal form for reasons to be explained below for expressing the torturous passion of love. Petrarch understood what those before him did not, as is explained here by de Rougemont: Happy love has no history. Romance only comes into existence where love is fatal, frowned upon and doomed by life itself. What stirs lyrical poets to their finest flights is neither the delight of the senses nor the fruitful contentment of the settled couple; not the satisfaction of love, but its passion. And passion means suffering.
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There we have the fundamental fact. In the case of the Petrarchan lyric, Laura is forever displaced, inaccessible to the poet-lover, but eternally evocable through poetic language. Within the confines of the Petrarchian sonnet, the lyrical genre would become even more contemplative, further distancing itself from the desired object and representing, in verse, what had been expressive and collective in earlier forms. Petrarchian lyricism, a poetic operation dependant upon the absence of the desired object evoked through verse, is characterized by this unfulfilled, virginal quality: to elicit passion, desire must always be deferred.
In the tercets, the interlaced rhymes allow the poet to metaphorically equate the attributes of his beloved with weapons in the C rhyme pair, his inability to resist in the D pair and the results of this incapacity in the E pair. However, a more thorough analysis into the structure of the Petrarchan verse, I will withhold until later.
Part of the Renaissance enterprise of imitation was invention, the techne by which familiarity with master models was gained see Grahame Castor, ch. This considered, it should come as no surprise that there would be such a copious repetition of tropes and figures, symbols and themes. Finally, we are faced with an example of an individual, desiring subject evoking the image of a desired, addressed and, in this case, even named—and, as such, not merely allegorized—object.
In thematizing passionate love coupled with the resentment of its impossibility of fulfillment and embedding this thematics into the mold of a constrained, rhetorically-driven verse form would be the heritage of Petrarch to his centuries of disciples to follow, including those in midth-century France. But, first, to understand the migration of the Petrarchian sonnet into France requires a certain degree of historical framing. As early as and into the 20s and 30s, the vogue for all things Italian—art, philosophy, humanism—was at its apogee.
Along the trade routes between Florence and Paris—with the important depots of Genoa and Lyon along the way—Italian Renaissance culture was all the rage and was a trend-setter in all aspects of culture. Ideals of humanistic education—an interest in philology and a return to Greco-Roman forms of rhetoric and learning—were adopted by writers such as Castiglione, Machiavelli, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre and others, as Cicero, Aristotle and Quintillian became the great masters to imitate. And, imitate they did—with a profusion of texts pouring out of the recently-invented printing presses.
The Renaissance was defined, as explained by Terence Cave in The Cornucopian Text, by such copiousness and abundance De Copia in form, practice and manner in the areas of elocution and oration. However, for expressing passionate love in their Amours, the poets would turn to a more recent Italian import: Petrarch. Of course, when dealing with the lyric as a genre, other sources, especially thematic, are possible to draw— even for Petrarch Sappho, Catullus, Tibullus, etc. In essence, Du Bellay would be the first in France to draw together both Petrarchian structure and thematics in an original canzoniere.
The structural evolution from epigram to sonnet—leaving alone thematics for the time being—would seem fairly obvious. In the first verse, the verses tend to salute you, and, in the second they recommend something of or someone to you. Each of the first three verses is concluded with a colon 19 that builds to the next, until at the conclusion of the second couplet, we discover what is recommended. Nevertheless, the choice of punctuation is important and, as further analysis will demonstrate, contributes to the dynamism between verses or within a poetic structure.
Read as such, the first series of five is connected to the second series of five with the repetition of the BB rhyme in the 5th and 6th verses—which, together, form a couplet. This series of couplets AA that returns to B, vv. With this in mind, let us return to the implementation of the couplet marotique to the French Petrarchian sonnet. In fact, to create a Petrarchian sonnet from this form would only require the addition of two mirroring quatrains. The effect achieved by the former is a more fluid build-up of tension, whereas the latter contains the tension in two separate entities.
This will become increasingly pertinent as I discuss the syllogistic qualities of the sonnet. While the French sonnet has been dismissed as derivative, belittled for the high degree of its imitativeness or ignored altogether amongst many scholars of the English sonnet, 23 with the addition of the couplet marotique at the 9th and 10th verses, 24 the verse form acquires a new dynamism and rhetorical force to which we will now turn our attention.
Not only is the French middle man denied a chapter, but its presence in the book is limited to a few lines. The Rhetorical Function of the Sonnet Structure One of the more salient and defining formal features of the sonnet is the brevity of this forme fixe. Unlike the ode, ballad or other forms, the sonnet is defined by its constraints; the poet has fourteen verses of a select number of syllables 10 or 12 and rhymes 4 or 5 to build to a singular idea. Whereas the English sonnet builds to a final couplet, the French variety employs the couplet that divides the octave from the sestet to a rhetorical end that will be explained below.
As analysis will show, with the couplet marotique, the rime plate interrupts the continuity, offering something syllogistic rather than terminal. For others, nevertheless, at some distance from the esthetics of purgation of the Classicists, for example, Sainte-Beuve in , the form is ironically a crystallization of thought, a boiling away of the superfluous, a reduction to a pure form Gendre 7.
Tout va bien au Sonnet […]. However, these critics agree that by way of its own limitations, a well-worked sonnet produces a distillation of thought, an evocative vignette that momentarily makes the non-present mentally present and produces a singular effect that separates it from any other verse form. In other words, the sonnet is an ideal container for the dualities of the Petrarchian thematics. Knowing there are fourteen verses in which to produce a singular effect or evoke an image, the poet builds to an end for which the reader can prepare in anticipation.
All literature builds to an end; but prose, drama and most poetic forms 26 do not hold the promise of offering it in a predictable fourteenth and final line. A definite end is prepared and promised. Likewise, the epigram builds to a final mot spirituel. And, it is at this point that the French couplet marotique separates the French sonnet from the Italian or English, offering it a significant rhetorical value.
This rupture in the logical order also introduces the sestet; or, in the case of the French sonnet, as explained earlier by Weber, the two quatrains are interrupted by a new rhyme—a couplet—and a final concluding four verses are ushered in to bring the poem to its predetermined end.
Much has been speculated concerning this 8 : 6 division. This equation, employing square roots and the Pythagorean Theorem, claims to prove the logic of the sonnet We will defer elaborating on such theories of balance and equilibrium to the discussion of theorizing the sonnet in the next chapter. In The Poetics of French Verse, Clive Scott seconds this notion: The French continental sonnet establishes a point of departure in the stability of its octave: two quatrains in enclosed rhyme the rhyme which, with its chiastic, self-mirroring scheme, emphasizes finality and self- sufficiency complement each other in relationships of apposition, extension, different degrees of particularity.
On this sound foundation is built something very different, the nervous, exploratory, disequilibriated acceleration of the tercets, usually using three rhymes in their six lines against the octaves customary two in eight. From the structural independence of the quatrains we shift to the interdependence, the mutual incompleteness, of the tercets. The eight lines of closed rhyme produce a certain kind of musical pace which demands repetition. Any expectation of stanzic continuation is, however, violated by the six lines of the interlaced rhyme which follow: the sestet is more tightly organized, and briefer, than the octave and so urges the sonnet to a decisive conclusion.
The French sonnet once again sets itself apart with its rhetorical integrity. For the syllogistic sonnet, 29 one quatrain Q1 would offer a premise of objective generalities and the other Q2 another premise of more subjective particularities that would together build to a conclusion in the tercets T. T: Because I desire her, I am predestined to suffering. As we see, in the deduced logic of the Petrarchian model there is commonly—but, by no means, always—a passage from the unattainable You the desired object and, often, addressee of the poem to the pitiable subject Me that concludes in victimizing me because I desire an objective you.
In a study that speaks of the Petrarchian ideal sonnet, it is important to remember that the ideal sonnet does not exist. With the additional rime plate separating the two premises from the conclusion, the French sonnet offers the aforementioned moment of rupture and reflection through with the final four verses can resound. Now, our model could be presented as thus: 1 Objective statement, 2 Subjective statement, 3 Confirmation and 4 Conclusion.
This additional moment of tension enables the delivery of the final image to be all the more distilled as the poem builds to its esthetic closure. Playing with the Petrarchian dualism and oxymoron between the words aimer to love and amer bitter , the poet carries over to the second quatrain his inability to resist this object outside himself that causes such great suffering. In the couplet marotique of the 9th and 10th verses, where a couplet brings an end to the quatrain pair and introduces the tercets, there is a summary of what has happened thus far—a reiteration of his misery caused by desire—and a preparation for the conclusion to be delivered in the final quatrain.
Despite himself, he must attempt to satiate his desire, fully aware that his consumption will be excessive—his actions will ultimately bring about misery. And, so it does. Still, the Petrarchian poet is incapable of resisting it, and realizes it will be the end of him. As is the case with this Ronsard poem, with the couplet marotique, the French sonnet enjoys the possibility of an additional, potent resource which allows for confirmation and enables the poem to realize a crystallized, logical end.
Having seen the function of the couplet marotique and how it contributes to the sonnet-as-syllogism, let us turn to the other logical model to which the sonnet lends itself: the famous Hegelian dialectic. I will, therefore, only gloss the situation of in order to get to the Hegelian model. Although we see moments of this in the Renaissance and Baroque periods the periods of a purer Petrarchism when compared to the Romantic period in France , it becomes a more regular practice in the thematics of the late or bas Romantics, those of the generation of For the poets of this period, who were more concerned with personal history and lamenting failed revolutions and romantic ideals than inaccessible lovers, Hegelian concepts of history seem more appropriate than the cruelties of desire.
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In the case of these poets, however, the ideal is usually not a woman, or if it is, she is representative of a displaced historical ideal. And, employing another logical presentation, the sonnet structure still builds to a concise conclusion in the dialectical model. Many scholars link this infatuation with Germany to the death of his mother in Prussia while the poet was still an infant. Ils reviendront, ces Dieux que tu pleures toujours!
III: While both quatrains deal with memory and the ability to recall information relative to the past, Van Rutten correctly locates the point of opposition between the questions posed in the direct objects Lusignan ou Biron? Rather than split hairs as to whether or not this is the case, let us focus our attention on the dialectical structure at play despite the division. These oppositions are also quite emblematic of the Hegelian dialectic in the 19th-century French sonnet.
Working with various thematics and across historical periods, the Petrarchian sonnet, through its rhetorical structure and logical form, builds to a final image that it distills—in a couplet—in its concluding verses. Either way, there is no possible couplet marotique in the 9th and 10th verse positions; rather, the poem consists of three quatrains with a repeated conclusion in the final couplet.
Teaming with the thematics of an inaccessible desired object, the structure of the sonnet allows the possibility of evoking the desired image and witnessing its dissolution in a minimal poetic scene. And, for a final example of an exception that confirms the rule: while the 16th-century Italian Ariosto held that his successful and completed epic Orlando furioso remembered as one of the longest in European history was his crowning achievement, he is he is equally remembered for what he considered a simple pleasure— his Petrarchian sonnets.
The response is to be found in the relationship of this Petrarchian structure and thematics to the nature of the human desires and passionate love constitutive of the anthropology of the French lyric. Negotiating Petrarchism in 16th-century France: Imitation Theory and Neoplatonism As previously mentioned, the sonnet was not the only Italian import to enter into France and evolve as part of the French Renaissance. Italian philosophy, as well as Italian interpretations of Classical ideas, also found their way into the traditions of the later culture.
As practice met theory, one thing became certain: in espousing the ideals, traditions and forms of antiquity even with a nationalistic end in mind , imitation was a must. For them, Petrarchism was little more than the most recent avatar of past masters to imitate—as his ideal lyrical form, the sonnet, had become synonymous with passionate love. To compose passionate love, however, one must first hope to comprehend the intricacies of passionate love. Fortunately, to this end, the Renaissance had also brought Neoplatonism and its complex theories of love into vogue in 15th-century Italy and 16th-century France.
What was the Renaissance, after all, but the attempted rebirth of classical Greco-Roman ideals? And, how is this made possible but through the imitation of great masters. By the former, choosing suitable, classic models, the poets of the 16th century in France hoped to gain access to the latter, an uncovering or discovery of past knowledge Castor In his Deffence et illustration, Joachim Du Bellay takes it a bit farther when he speaks of the insufficiency of simply translating I, 5 , that imitation was a necessary form of ingesting and naturalizing a given material or form.
Imitation, therefore, in opposition to 19th-century Romantic ideals of originality and singularity, is a positive trait in the Renaissance. In no way is borrowing existing models for creation in 43 Once again, the Renaissance avoids the Romantic notion of firstness or creation in a void. Invention, according to the principles of Humanism, was a re-discovery of the forgotten ideals of Antiquity. Such possession, nevertheless, following Neoplatonic theory, allowed a potential escape from the earthly prison of the carnal body, had to be merited through the drudgery of imitation Castor The idea of divine fury, like the sonnet, was another recent Italian import in 16th-century France.
Poetry is not simply an optional extra, a pleasing and elegant embellishment which has nothing at all to do with the really important issues of human life. Poetry, in fact, has an essential part to play in the relations between body and soul. Castor 31 So, in essence, if we follow the logic of this metaphysical theory, the objective, the desired end result of poetry is a transcendent form of Love that can only be attained through the experience at an earlier level of passionate love, which ultimately promises to provide us with enlightenment.
Vignes recognizes this complicity between Petrarch ism and Neoplatonism, which he relates in terms that will facilitate our connection between these theories and our anthropological theories of the sonnet. The two are reconciled, I would argue, in Petrarchian verse—which is the supreme manifestation of the lyricism Maulpoix seeks to define. Mais les deux ne se confondent pas. Man seeks to create and the desired other is merely a means by which this desire is mediated. Of course, the accessibility of this central sacred feminine remains forever a leurre.
Only in the sonnet, however, is the poet allowed to minimize his suffering, parsimoniously achieving resolution in a constrained space of 14 verses. The structure itself, consisting of a continuous, symmetrical ottava violently interrupted by the asymmetry of a strambotto sestet, provides closure and minimalism to a poetic form that could potentially defer its ending indefinitely. With the innovations of Marot, introducing the rime plate in the 9th and 10th verse positions, 51 there is a significant rupture that allows the sonnet to operate as a syllogism, synthesizing the premises of the first two quatrains into a final chute or volte and conclusion.
Thematically and structurally, as codified by Petrarch, the sonnet is an ideal form for expressing passionate love. The lyrical ideal of the Petrarchian thematics worked so well that the form almost naturally made its way into France during the Renaissance, at the same time humanists were suggesting imitation as a means to enrich the French language.
On the ideological flipside, Neoplatonic ideals of inspiration and divine fury were justified as the metaphysical relationships of poetic creation to Love were examined. As it varies from poet to poet, I will suffice it to say it progressively became the dominant form. Thus, we have yet another defense of the Petrarchian Lyrical Imperative.
Marty Next, progressing forward beyond the Renaissance through the French lyrical tradition and elsewhere , I turn to the theories of other poets and poeticians from the Baroque and Classicism to Romanticism, Modernism and Post-Modernism, who have attempted to understand the structure of the sonnet in numerical and geometrical terms.
In a final section, I revisit the structure and thematics of the French Petrarchian sonnet, reading the verse form against sociological and anthropological literary theory—into which tradition, I argue, the explanation of the predominance of the sonnet as the ideal lyrical form is best supported. Finally, I appeal to a linguistically-inclined branch of socio-anthropological theory—building upon the thought of Lang, Searle, Frye, Gans, Culler, etc. The enigmatic richness of the constrained,verse structure, the marriage of symmetry to asymmetry, and the paradox of intimacy through artifice interested theorists of the Renaissance just as they do scholars today.
It is likewise contemporary to a period when the sonnet-epigram of Marot and others was—with direct translations of Petrarch—a generally accepted form of the sonnet. As we see, the sudden, violent intrusion of the illogical, asymmetrical strambotto tercet pair breaks with the reason and analogy of the verse and defies the measure and rules of the verse, introducing a sort of enigma and paradox to the verse form.
Furthermore, if the common French reader of poetry contemporary to Aneau, who was accustomed to more challenging in his assessment , repetitive rhyme schemes AAA, BBB, etc. Plato found this harmony in the squares and cubes of the double and triple proportion starting from unity…. The ratios between these numbers contain not only all the musical consonances, but also the inaudible music of the heavens and of the human soul. Naturally, the same limitations would not apply to the erudite generation of French poets in the 16th century, many of whom, self-proclaimed Hellenists, certainly knew their Plato.
Grotesque for human proportions, as a poetic form, the sonnet was, for Banville—as evidenced by his regular use of the form, rather effective. While this may not account for the thematics of the Petrarchian sonnet, what will be of particular interest in the model I will soon put forward—and what should be kept in mind—is the idea in the first paragraph of two equal mirrors and two walls that enclose the poet, an image to which I shall return.
Scott, Poetics As a conclusion to this section on numerical theories of the sonnet, Bonnefoy reduces it to a matter of binary code: one is even, the other odd—and this makes all the difference. What is missing, may I suggest, and what Aragon hinted towards in his explanation, is a theory that accounts for the thematics of the sonnet to accompany its numerically-based structure. One cannot divorce the two: remember the Petrarchian sonnet comprises both a structure and a thematics.
To the end of illuminating both the structure and thematics of the verse form, allow me to put forward my anthropological theory of the sonnet. The same is true for the sonnet. Nicole G. Then again, in this case, there is no explanation of the Petrarchian thematics of passionate love. It is in this line of sociological and anthropological thought— with its attention to myth and theories of origin—that I submit my theory for interpreting the sonnet as the lyrical ideal.
By approaching the empirically-driven realm of science and the transcendentally-based faith of religion, the socio-anthropological approach to the Sacred allows for a displaced understanding of the purposes of belief and its function within the social order. At the same time, this understanding of the Sacred, as an essentially human phenomenon, permits explorations into a science of the human 15 Naturally, I could not possibly in the constraints of this chapter provide a bibliographical account of all the theories that inform my work; so, I will limit myself to an incomplete list of some of the nodal points in the development of the theory I shall employ.
In order to truly understand religion, Durkheim compared ethnographic data sets on archaic religions to break it down as had Frazer and Tylor to a collection of its most primitive features; these he explores in his On the Elementary Forms of Religious Life , where he reduces basic religion picking up where Frazer left off in his Totemism to totemic thought: a separation of sacred and profane. A commonly-held division of what is permissible and what is not taboo binds a group into a society where peace can be established.
Common religion provides a ground zero level upon which a group of individuals can live together, support one another and fellowship within the bounds and bonds delimited by the Sacred. Myth, taboo and ritual arise to explain and support the collective memory of this sacred division. In his most famous essay, The Gift , Mauss, however, limits his scope to a particular phenomenon in socio- religious practice: the exchange of gifts.
Studying most particularly the nuances of gift- giving in Polynesian society mana and exchange rituals in the Pacific Northwest Potlatch , Mauss explores both the sacred and profane ramifications of gift exchange, focusing on the obligatory reciprocity and the spiritual and social responsibility attached to the economy of the gift. In the end, the same social bonds founded in religion, as explained by Durkheim, are not only present but are solidified in the culture of ritual gift exchange.
For the Lutheran Otto, this link is established by a sentiment, a feeling that cannot be explained rationally, which he names the numinous. Existing outside the self, this sentiment evokes both terror tremedum and fascination fascinans. In other terms, Caillois demonstrated that both sides of the Manichean world of good and evil, diabolical and divine, are located within the sacred sphere, and that the profane is everything that exists outside of this sphere. According to this model, profane space is transformed into sacred space by the actual presence of the sacred or deity created in myth or sacred text , and this space cosmos is separated from profane space chaos by both spatial and temporal limitations.
He or she differentiates sacred space and time from their profane counterparts in recognizing the cyclical nature, marked with significant ruptures of the latter and the linear nature of the former. Despite himself, the profane man still experiences subconscious desires for the sacred—that are met with the sacralized weekends, non-religious holidays, daily rituals, etc.
While ethnographic exploration i. In its simplest terms, mimetic desire is, therefore, triangular. According to Girard, mimetic conflict is contagious and, when the mutually desired object is scarce, could lead to a mimetic crisis. In the violent frenzy, a society must mitigate this anger to continue its existence; so, it focuses all the negative energy into an arbitrarily chosen Scapegoat usually selected for its differences from the social norms; i. The group converges on its collective victim and lynches it.
This process of sparagmos, or violent discharge of tension, leads to a re-establishment of peace in the community, as well as recognition of and remorse for the violence enacted. Myth and ritual replay and recall this sacred event of origin and religion is the result. Interpreted using Girardian terms, the verse form could be said to be a ritualistic representation of the victimary process and origin of the sacred—which would go far in explaining its appeal.
This is achieved in the interwoven tercet pair, where symmetry is violated and the poem achieves its lyrical end. The poet might metaphorically sacrifice himself to his desire in the Petrarchian model, but it is not a physical violence. Rather than a collectivity learning from and forming around the corpse of a scapegoat, as in the Girardian model, for Gans, language and religion emerge simultaneously as a group of pre-linguistic proto-humans mutually defer the potential violence of a mimetic conflict as individual desires collide—this act of deferral constituting the first act of representation.
In his first work on the subject, The Origin of Language , Gans explains the evolution of language from the Originary Event to modern day discourse—including literary genres. As mentioned above, it is from this theoretical framework, codified by Gans in a parsimonious linguistic theory, that my theory of the structural and thematic predominance of the sonnet finds its expression. The originary linguistic utterance, the ostensive, is repeated in the physical presence of the represented object a is present when I utter its name; i.
As the desired object of representation was not always readily available, the imperative a is not present but I can make it become so through the speech act of uttering its name; i. The eventual discursive linguistic form, the declarative, emerges from a subject talking about an object in its absence without any desire of it making it present neither a nor b are present, but I can evoke them through language; i. The dramatic genre, with its collective nature and valuing of the visual over the verbal in its re-creation and eventual catharsis of mimetic crisis, would be esthetically similar to the ostensive.
A slippage between sign and referent renders all representation as predeterminedly impossible and therefore imperfect. However, the artificial attempt and the recognition of artifice allow for the esthetic closure and catharsis intended by artistic representation. Fiction alone developed outside of Ancient Greece As such, it could be compared to the separation Gans makes between the declarative and discursivity. Becoming more individualized and minimal in the lyrical relationship, the subject is separated from his desired object.
While these blend in practice, Tylor separates them into two distinct categories, practical and symbolic, that may not directly involve literary genres, but certainly support what has been gleaned from Gans and Frye. Given the compatible explanations of genre, as synthesized from Gans, Frye and Tylor, no improbable stretch is necessary to thematically link the Petrarchian sonnet to the lyrical mode of representation.
According to his sonnet form, a present, subjective poet Petrarch symbolically summons an absent, desired, but infinitely unattainable, central object with certain, either apparent or non-apparent, sacred attributes Laura. According to Frye, the lyric is, rhetorically, analogous to prayer as the epos is to a sermon What J. Austin or John Searle would, in their theories of language, refer to as illocutionary speech acts, the imperative wants to accomplish something with words: to make non-present the present through linguistic evocation.
Lyrical poetry is, therefore, perpetually virginal in that it is a desire that is never physically satisfied, only esthetically deferred through representation. As a primitive, sacred model, the lyrique rituel would exist as a guarantor of the primacy of the sacred center, which is evoked but never appropriated, desired but never attained.
Lyrical poetry, in a secular world, becomes a vestige of a sacred past while at the same time serving a very personal, subjective and profane purpose. The collective sacred center is replaced by a supposedly individually-desired feminine sacred, equally inaccessible to its evoking poet. Oppenheimer cited the sonnet as the first truly individual, self-reflective and modern poetic form 3. Pagan, and not in the least heretical! A personal lyric would necessarily be more reflective of personal desire and the desired object would not be a universally inaccessible god, but rather a personally inaccessible feminine counterpart.
Between the expressive, active participation of the former and the latent, passive absence of the latter, in both cases, dwells the lyrical imperative, the unaccomplished, intermediary form where a present calls upon a non-present. Thematically removed from the communal scene, the physical intimacy of the couple remains entirely out of question.
Remember, passionate love can only exist in absentia. Desire for the inaccessible is all that can ever truly be expressed. However, in the same way tragic theatre can communally display—in the ostensive sense—the scene of creation, the lyrical poet can likewise occupy the scene of creation.
The very failure—or negative resolution—of every sonnet assures that he will continue to create, if not physically, through representation. In this leurre of cat-and-mouse, this passionate conquest to never be fulfilled, the poet-lover occupying the sacred scene is a creator in verse. No poet writes in a void. Even Giacomo read his poems to Frederick II and his fellow courtiers. If it becomes less performative and more secular, it is no less communal.
If not a public work, why else would a poet choose to publish make public his poetry? Even in the case of intimate desire, there is an element of communal sympathy through mimesis, even removed from collective religion. Although personal, the lyrical genre involves us, the reader, chaque individu. Thus, moving from an anthropological to a sociological and back to an anthropological reading of the creation of the sonnet and its reception in the public, we realize that it is the universality of both this structure and thematics that assures its longevity. Always a failed enterprise of evoking the desired being, but a successful effort of presenting a singular sentiment of passionate love, the rapidly introduced and perpetually negative resolution of the sonnet allows for its continuity.
However, this mimetic confrontation avoids the necessity of the sacrifice of an arbitrary victim for resolution, as it defers violence through the introduction of the tercet pair that parsimoniously brings the poem to a decisive and peaceful resolution—one in which, still, the desired object cannot be appropriated. In the case of the couplet marotique that ushers in an end to the competing entities , the 9th and 10th verse offer a potential structural representation of the harmony that follows the Originary Event, bringing about the resolution in the communal, intertwined concluding verses that follow.
But the lyric catharsis is not provided by an actual presence, not even, as in ritual, by the manifestation of the sacred powers of the object which place it out of the reach of individual desire. The language of desire must accomplish this catharsis on its own.
We are drawn to it and, at the same time, are repulsed by it. In Gansian terms, our relationship to the Sacred is conceived in more human terms, in that it takes into account our desires: those of love and resentment. We love the sacred center because we desire and worship it; at the same time, we resent it because we know we can never have it. Gans attributes this idea to Nietzsche, who he applauds as being the first to theorize this idea of ressentiment and recognizing it as the position of the modern man Signs of Paradox It could be said that this sentiment exists in the paradoxical dilemma of the desiring lyrical subject imperatively evoking a non-present object.
While elements of Petrarchian discourse deal with antitheses, this model would not be altogether compatible with Neoplatonism, which values the suffering of passionate love. To really understand the compatibility of originary resentment and French Petrarchism would require a complex look at the Neoplatonic theories to which they adhered— something the scope and aims of the current study will not allow. As mentioned in the last chapter, the tortures of passionate love are a touchstone, a key step to attaining higher entendement according to the Neoplatonic theories adhered to by poets of the Renaissance.
Laurens In seeking this divine Love Amour , passionate resentment remains the result; and, by this passionate resentment, a poet creates and graduates to a newer sphere of existence. Still an untested theory at present, perhaps Neoplatonic—and by association, French Renaissance—conceptions of passionate love are not that distantly removed from the original Petrarchian thematics after all.
Appropriation, like the image evoked in verse, forever remains a leurre—and, the Petrarchian lyric remains an eternally virginal form. For both, the fourteen verses of the sonnet would signify a ritualistic purification for the addressed woman, who is actually rendered virginal, or at least is purified, over the course of the poem. While this remains to be proven through analysis, the anthropological theory with which I will approach the Petrarchian sonnet in the French Renaissance appears structurally sound and supported in the work of experts in the field.
And, to ensure that this dialogue does not become a proverbial dialogue des sourds, I will test both my theory of historically universal lyrical appeal and the anthropological primacy of the sonnet against these early models. They do, however, bear great importance as they pioneer many of the stylistic traits proper to the unique form of the French Petrarchian sonnet, as my analyses of these fragmentary compositions attempt to reveal.
Born roughly five years apart Marot c.
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For his part, Jean Marot, judging from E. The sheer volume and richness of a series of articles each modifying the findings of the last with new research is proof enough, in and of itself, of the supposed stakes of this point. Jasinski, in , would attribute the honor to Marot, claiming he wrote the first sonnet in A decade later would see a historical rigor presented to the question as Pierre Villey would promote Marot in ; N. Clement would question his dates but support the same general thesis in and Walter Bulock would take it a step further in Mayer in It is in this same spirit—and in accepting the possibility of fault—that I will appeal to Jasinski in accepting Marot as the first to introduce the sonnet into the French Tradition.
Indeed, based upon our explanations of the sonnet as lyrical ideal from the last chapter, the Petrarchian thematics of passionate love has nothing to do with the short, satirical poems, ending with a witty final turn. The sonnet form, nevertheless, lends itself quite nicely to the epigram. For another example of this, let us examine one particularly comical epigram by Marot to see this form at work. Tu as tout seul ton cueur et ta pecune. Tu as tout seul le fruict de ta fortune.
Tu as tout seul ton boire et ton repas. In fact, all that the poems in question would need to become a sonnet-epigram is an additional six-verse strambotto. Another problem with constituting the sonnet-epigram as a sonnet is that, following our formal analysis from the last chapter, a comic poet would not want a predetermined ending to his epigram the way a truly lyrical poet would. Will the epigram stop in the 8th verse or continue to 12? Just as ten verses constituted a perfect epigram—8 verses and a final couplet, so was the sonnet with its eight verses, a couplet and a final quatrain the perfect Italian epigram.
From the period when he fought alongside and was captured along with the king at Pavia in , this clandestine trip to Italy, running from the king a decade later, was very different. It was in this period of exile that Marot would compose his first three sonnets and translate the six Petrarchan sonnets, selections from which I will now analyze. O la doulceur des doulceurs feminines! The first stanza may tell of her absence and its effect on him as the poet-subject, however the laudatory nature of the four apostrophes that dominate the first three verses of the second stanza provide the poem with a somber, reverent, elegiac tone.
Closed with a period, the syntax of this first tercet prepares for another, final tercet to close the sonnet. As we see, even with a very different more medieval, Christian and antidotal thematics, the dual interruption of the repeating quatrains with the tercets—here, prepared by two couplets marotiques—allows the poem to abruptly change pace and ushers it to a resolute end.
However, structurally, the purposes of the sonnet are served. The first two quatrains build upon each other to establish Pompone Trivulse as a capable and praiseworthy governor, who brought liberty and forture Thresors to his people—both representing syntactically individual units, as indicated by the period that concludes each.
Villey , Mayer and others assure us that this is not the same governor, but his nephew who was in office in —a point confirmed, with new findings, by Defaux n. Rather than suggesting praise, as the poet does in the first eight verses, with the doubled couplet marotique, he assures that due glory be delivered to the beloved governor.
With the marriage of the sonnet to the epigram, if Marot lost sight of the Petrarchian thematics of the form, he certainly maximized its structural ability to build to and impressively deliver a point. As the above analysis of two of his early sonnets demonstrates, Marot certainly recognized and understood the esthetic potential of the Italian verse form. A memory of his Italian exile, a form unproven and something, to him, particularly un-French, it is safe to assume it was simply not his form of predilection. And, even if Marot would ultimately prefer the liberties of the epigram, to deny his contributions to the sonnet verse form as it entered into France constitutes a considerable oversight.
At first the project is unalloyed pleasure. The more one looks into their later works, the more one feels that the two composers were not improved by the demands of fame, and that in both their cases the idolization of the English public was a mixed blessing; both seemed to have adopted a style suitable for the taste of their British audiences and the pomposities of gigantic music festivals.
A song is almost always tied to its poem, and words and music sink together, hopelessly dated by the facile fervour of another epoch. This having been said, some of the later songs of Gounod admirably illustrate the Zeitgeist of the age, and songs like Oh happy home! Oh happy flower! It may truly be said that the years to were for him both anni mirabiles and anni horibiles. Never before had he composed so many songs; never before was he so wretchedly unhappy. He had fled France for England initially to escape the effects of the War and its aftermath the Commune, but he remained in the country for some two-and-a-half years.
He had the misfortune to become caught up in the affairs of the redoubtable singer, Mrs Georgina Weldon, one of the truly celebrated eccentrics of the Victorian era and the subject of Storm Bird , a remarkable biography by Edward Grierson. She was comfortably married to the long-suffering Harry Weldon but lacked the funds for her grandiose schemes. Having met Gounod who at the time was going through a phase of being unhappy with his wife Mrs Weldon determined to have him as composer-in-residence for her troupe. He was to sit in a study at the top of the house and, in return for his keep and a bit of pocket money, was to write music, the profits from which would go to the orphanage.
It is possible that at first Gounod was attracted to Mrs Weldon on a romantic basis but his amatory tastes make it rather more likely that he was fascinated by her young charges. Any suggestion of romance was laughed out of court and the composer found himself trapped in a noisy and chaotic household where he was expected to work very hard indeed. And work he did. Uxorious by nature, there is no doubt that a tough regime with a strict timetable and a surrogate wife and children suited the composer in many ways; to be hen-pecked was to be secure.
Spared any decisions in business matters these were handled firmly, if ultimately disastrously, by Mrs Weldon he was free to devote his time entirely to composition. He also wrote Italian songs including the cycle Biondina in which he seems to have returned with amazing facility to the Italianate musical world of his Prix de Rome days.
The arrangement may have worked more or less permanently were it not for the impossible Mrs Weldon who so relished a fight she was continually involved in court proceedings that she finally destroyed any possibility of the composer staying in London. This was very unwise, for he was sentenced to prison when the case was lost and he was unable to pay the costs.
The Lord Chief Justice deferred the committal order, but the composer had clearly had enough. He never paid a penny of course, but it did mean that he could never return to England. It is true that the works are very largely strophic and that the melodies are memorable and not spiked with enormous learning difficulties, but the singer has to have an impeccable legato with marvellous breath control, and the deft piano writing requires a lightness of touch and a variety of colour—always a necessity in the performing of strophic songs.
It is in this mood of gently contained inward rapture that Gounod can achieve incomparable things. The skill and taste of the performers can help the composer enormously here and make all the difference between a moving rendition and a send-up. The worst of the Gounod songs are as bombastic or sanctimonious as the age in which they were written, but the best have an inimitable quality of ingenuity and unforced delight.
Even if we feel that he was a composer that lost his way at times there is no denying that there are a healthy number of songs by Gounod without which the French song repertoire would be infinitely the poorer. In both cases the composer achieved results that went far beyond pastiche; he really thought himself into a different style and language with superior results to a thousand native practitioners of the art.
He was one of the first composers to build a multinational career and to take the trouble to cater for the difficult tastes of his audiences on both sides of the channel. The songs in English When Gounod returned to France in his relationships with his English publishers were in tatters largely thanks to Mrs Weldon. He asked the ever co-operative Barbier and others to set new French words, post facto, to these works without acknowledging their original English sources—the English publishers had already paid him or Mrs Weldon for the music. Two of these appear in Volume 3 of the Choudens collection, and others in the first volume of the Lemoine collection.
Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Don't show me this message again. Listen to the very gentle song Which weeps only to please you. It is discreet; it is light: A trembling of water on moss! What I have accomplished of work you know, you have been the witness of that which I have expended in strength, acceptance of anguish, my endurance of suffering of all kinds. To re-enter into this life of anxiety, of submission to the terror of saying the least word, of the sacrifice of my own thoughts so as to feel myself paralysed, is beyond my strength.
France is essentially the country of precision, neatness and taste, that is to say the opposite of excess, pretentiousness, disproportion and longwindedness. Since you have desired my peace and tranquillity, do not dream of re-opening for me an existence which cannot bring us peace … May God keep you. I had been his sick nurse. I had been his secretary. I had done the round of publishers for him. I had written all sorts of puffs and adverts for him. I had been his poet. I had spent my money. I had been agent general for all M. I had sung at all his concerts. I had always sung his compositions.