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The opening, when "uno spirito gentil volando forte [ The Caccia is Boccaccio's most musical work, but the choric, which I intend here as a concerned participation in the vicissitudes of others, expresses itself as ragionamenti conversations. In at least two eloquent scenes in the Filostrato, the Trojan women visit first Criseida and then Troiolo: Questi e molti altri parlar femminili, quasi quivi non fosse, udiva quella sanza risponder, tenendoli vili But as we see it happens that one lady, if she is fond of another lady, goes to visit her when new events affect her, if she wishes her well, so many ladies came to pass the day with Criseida, all full of sympathetic joy, and they began to tell her about the event with its arrangements: Said one, 'Certainly it pleases me greatly that you will return to your father and are to be with him.

This and much other womanly talk she heard without answering, almost as if she were not there, for she despised it. Following this episode, Boccaccio comments on the "cinguettare invano" vain chirping of the women that Criseida cannot stand, just as Troiolo cannot not bear the presence, somehow annoying, of the women in his room: Ciascuna a suo poter il confortava, e tale il domandava che sentia; esso non rispondea, ma riguardava or luna o l'altra — 17 — Roberta Morosini In but a little time, the chamber was filled with ladies and music and song The crowd plays an important role in its crucial episodes.

When Biancifiore is condemned to death, the day's events pass from one ragiona- mento to another. Tutti i baroni e l'altra gente, chi in una parte e chi in un'altra ne ragionavano. E molti ve n'avea che, se non fosse stato per tema di dispiacere al re, avrebbe parlato molto in difesa di Biancifiore [ All the barons and the other folks were talking about it, some in one group and some in another And others said.

Others argued in a different way. And so between one conver- sation and another, the day passed. Filocolo II 49, She was surrounded by a vast throng, "niuno era in Marmorina tanto crudele che di tale accidente non piangesse, e l'aere era pieno di dolenti voci" II, 54, 20; "there was no one in Marmorina so stern as not to weep at this event, and the air was full of sorrowing voices".

When Florio and Biancifiore are both condemned to death, Boccaccio provides us with a delightful sketch of "le vaghe giovani," other prisoners, who are moved as they watch from the top of the tower the tragic destiny that seems about to befall the young lovers: Le loro lacrime crescono per l'uccisione, e con quelle la loro speranza della salute di Biancifiore: Altre porgono pietose orazioni agl'iddii per lo salvamento della picciola schiera: A vocio whispers constantly throughout the novel; everybody narrates the story of Florio and Biancifiore: Even when no one is recounting Florio and Biancifiore's story, the ragionare keeps going Morosini, "Per difetto rintegrare" and " La morte verbale".

A detail from the illuminated manuscript Can. Everything is discussed in Boccaccio's Neapolitan" works. Non lo so, io adesso sono venuto Ma di che si tratta? Ma se non mi sbaglio pare che hanno preso un mariuolo No, no, lo stavano prendendo, ma poi quello se n'è scappato. Un centinaio e forse più di persone si accalca in piazza Mercato davanti a un negozio di giocattoli. Ho fatto tardi e vorrei correre a casa ma la mia natura napoletana si ribella ad andar via senza essere prima informato della cosa.

Hundreds of people or maybe more crowded the piazza Mercato in front of a toy shop. I am late and would like to run home, but my Neapolitan nature is rebelling against the idea — 19 — Roberta Morosini of leaving without first finding out about the "thing.

At the close of the Filocolo, one remembers not so much the details of the story with its happy ending, but rather the ensemble of voic- es. Boccaccio's Neapolitan works are an everlasting polyphony. In the final analysis, Rea's study of Boccaccio in Naples offers proof not of Boccaccio's so-called realism or social consciousness, but of Rea's own battle against a perception of Naples as "the land of singing" and against the Neapolitan intellectuals, writers, and movie directors who have sympathized with the poor without capturing their tragic sense of life.

Rea's continuous attempt is to discredit the folkloristic and annoying leg- end of Naples as a "baraccone delle meraviglie" "cabinet of marvels". True enough, Boccaccio did not pursue this goal, at least he did not conscious- ly chose to do it. Rea constantly and vigorously tried to debunk the numerous stereo- types and legends relating to Naples, as all his critical essays show. If he does not prove his point about Boccaccio's experience of the other' Naples, he still recognized the importance of the complex polyphony at work in Boccaccio's Neapolitan writings.

Interestingly enough, in the Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta II 6 , Naples is "joyous, peaceful, abundant, generous," as opposed to a Florence "full of miserly and envious people. He was the youngest son of the King of Hungary, and his murder brought about the Hungarian invasion of Naples in About the Eclogues, it must be said that in two of them, the fifth and sixth, Boccaccio praised King Louis of Taranto.

In Eclogue VI, Boccaccio was still hoping to be invited to Naples in , when the king and queen returned, and he celebrates Acciaiuoli's achievements see Léonard, Boccace et Naples Its reduction to the land of singing, beautiful moons, beautiful sun, appears to us insulting and offensive.

It is worn in the role of a stupid servant. Here the need to comment on what has hap- pened to other people, leads the protagonist to meet with "una compagnia assai utile, colla quale, primieramente cominciammo a ragionare con ordine assai dis- creto" Corbaccio Lettere e Epistole, ed.

Tutte le opere di Boccaccio, ed. New York and London: Garland Library of Medieval Literature, Cheney with the collaboration of Thomas G. The Book of Theseus. Teseida delle Nozze dFmilia by Giovanni Boccaccio, trans.

Medieval Text Association, Boccaccio's First Fiction, trans. Cassell and V Kirkham. University of Pennsylvania Press, Battaglia, Salvatore, Il Filocolo. Le epoche della letteratura italiana: Boccaccio medievale e nuovi studi sul Decameron.

L'invenzione della letteratura mezzana. Le lettere edite e inedite di Messer Giovanni Boccaccio. Pagine di storia medievale. Boccaccio," Giornale storico della Letteratura italiana 78 Aneddoti della vita di Petrarca. L'Erma di Bretschneider, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Editoria dell'Istituto dell'enciclopedia italiana, Les Angevins de Naples. Presses Universitaires de France, Un poète à la recherche d'une place et d'un ami. Imprimerie de Monaco Franco Cesati Editore, Il viaggio di Florio dall' 'imaginare' al vero conoscimento," Studi sid Boccaccio, 27 Daria Valentini and Janet Levaire Smarr.

Zyg Baransky and Theodore Cachey. Holding the Mirror up to Mimesis," Studi sul Boccaccio 20 Saggi editi dal al , ed. Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, A History of Italian Literature. While he was still living, however, he wrote most copiously in Latin as a way of safeguarding his name with posterity.

With his unfinished epic poem in Latin, Africa, on the theme of the sec- ond Punic war, he earned the crown of poet laureate in a solemn ceremo- ny held in Rome in Time's inexorable ticking and its power to oblit- erate horrified Petrarch, both personally and professionally.

At a difficult juncture in the history of the Italian vernacular, while Italy was not politi- cally or linguistically unified, the poet was troubled by the susceptibility of his Italian poems to being distorted by common readers.

He repeatedly swore indifference toward the vernacular compositions. Significantly, there is very little mention of Laura in Petrarch's exten- sive Latin writings and no mention of her in the oration delivered by the poet on the occasion of his highest professional achievement, his corona- tion as poet laureate in Rome, where he alluded, instead, to the mytholog- ical story of Apollo's consecration of the laurels as a result of his pursuit of a nymph who assumes arboreal form in a metamorphosis effected to escape his possession, as the paradigm of the poet's pursuit of his laurels.

His Fragmenta, seemingly composed out of compulsion to redress his most immediate longings for Laura, tell a multi-faceted story rather that focus- ing exclusively on an elusive woman. With them Petrarch exposes the most intimate nuances of his illegitimate passion for her and of his moral cri- sis , insisting on the uniqueness of his predicament, yet he was prudent to include in the collection multiple poems on entirely different subjects pol- itics and friendships, for instance , poems which would illustrate how the vernacular functions in the real world and not just in matters of the heart.

In sonnet 90 Petrarch describes his beloved in flight: This image, further- more, suggests the paradox of Petrarch's lyrical project in its entirety. Laura's hair, at times flowing in the wind, at times knotted by it, provides the link between the defining themes of the text and its formal logic. Petrarch's Fragmenta, to some extent, seem to be the spontanous expression of an unbridled passion, yet they are meticulously collected and ordered.

As soon as the Fragmenta allow Petrarch to enjoy momentary release from his relentless obsession, they also renew the emotions that they should redress. Laura's image throughout the Fragmenta is that of a different order of being, a flickering apparition with attributes rather than features.

Her shimmering figure comes in and out of focus and her full description, the poet would have us believe, transcends his rhetorical competence "manca l'ardir, l'ingegno et l'arte" — "there fails my daring, my wit, and my art" [ Thus Petrarch relies on the enumeration of a limited number of formalized discrete physical attributes that he reiterates hypnotically, attributes which never come together into a portrait.

She laughs "dolce ride" — "sweetly laughs" [ It is the poet who recollects her words "voi diceste allora"- — 26 — Mourning Laura "you said then" [ Paradoxically, Laura grows increasingly available after she dies, when she appears in the poet's dreams "in sonno" [ The key question to address is not what the Rime sparse are about, but rather what position they individually adopt on the fluidity of perception that they depict with so much virtuosity. At the outset of the Fragmenta the reader is faced with the identity of a poetic compilation that announces itself as split: In spite of its introductory capacity, it does not firmly situate the poet: Voi ch'ascoltate in rime sparse il suono di quei sospiri ond'io nudriva il core in sul mio primo giovenile errore, quand'era in parte altr'uom da quel ch'i' sono: Sonnet 1 introduces a subject whose attitude of repentance is incom- plete, an incoherent self, besieged by an inner conflict who swings between lucidity and emotion, encapsulated in the utterances "piango" and "ragiono.

And yet, seemingly, Petrarch inaugurated his lyrical sequence with this sonnet in order to suggest that identity should be undivided, static and finished. Petrarch teases the reader with the phantom of a conversion which would give a strong sense of direction to his text and structure its content in a — 27 — Isabella Bertoletti manner comparable to the use of a vanishing point for organizing spatial per- spective.

By postponing his conversion, the signifying horizon of his lyrical collection vanishes giving way to its multiplicity and points of dispersal. In an unpersuasive palinodie move the poet, like Guido da Montefeltro in Dante's Inferno, xx entertains the fallacious position of recanting a crime yet undisclosed and looking for absolution before sin- ning.

It is, in fact, only in sonnet 2 that Petrarch confesses his offense, his "errore," and then proceeds to reiterate it throughout the scattered rhymes.

Era la mia vertute al cor ristretta per far ivi e ne gli occhi sue difese, quando 1 colpo mortai là giù discese, ove solea spuntarsi ogni saetta; 2. My vital power was concentrated in my heart, to make there and in my eyes his defense, when the fatal blow fell where every previous arrow had been blunted; Era il giorno ch'ai sol si scoloraro per la pietà del suo fattore i rai quando i' fui preso, et non me ne guardai, che i be' vostr' occhi, Donna, mi legaro.

It did not seem to me a time for being on guard against Love's blows; therefore I went confident and without fear, so my misfortunes began in the midst of the universal woe. The presentation of the initial Ovidian scene of wounding in sonnet 2 is accommodated to a Christian setting when sonnet 3 uncovers the litur- gical occasion Good Friday that rendered the poet unarmed and thereby brings the drama of the Fall to bear on his amorous experience.

Suffering is advanced as the condition for writing and his poetry, pouring out of a torn subject, seems almost to hem- orrhage from his wounds. With its allusions to physical death in sonnets 2 and 3 , however, Petrarch reminds his readers that beginnings and epilogues tend to be one and the same in habitual narratives of conversion. In poem 5 the sequence culminates with the simultaneous naming and scattering of the woman who has thus remained unidentified: The final syllable of her name, in the poem's final line, coincides with the poet's last breath and her death "il fin".

The poet, who now chooses to identify with Apollo the Sun , secularizes the spectacle of Christ's crucifixion when the sun was reverently concealed and displaces it with the audacity of his professional endeavour. It is Laura, not the mystery of the incarna- tion, who exceeds his grasp and requires stronger shoulders the "omeri," which reverently allude to Petrarch's ideal mentor, Homer.

The poet's mental image of Laura is the sensual basis of a love that Petrarch is unable to sublimate into a symbolic occasion for elevation. Intermittently penitent, Petrarch recognizes the danger of a desire that has caused his own spiritual degeneration into a fragmented being. In his most directly personal work, the scathingly introspective De secretu confiictu — 29 — Isabella Bertoletti curarum mearum, xb Petrarch undertakes a prolonged attempt at spiritual healing.

During a three-day dialogue between himself and his spiritual mentor, St. Augustine, he searches his soul and portrays his secular and spiritual aspirations competing in a struggle that endures into a lingering conflict rather then ending in conversion. In the Fragmenta, analogously, he correlates his long and painful pursuit of Laura to a continuous strug- gle which fails to produce a definitive religious epiphany.

Against the lofty background of Augustinian orthodoxy it is Laura who merits the applause of the Saint, while Petrarch can bring himself only to confess his failure in relation to his simultaneous commitments to a view of agency and author- ship as resolved, coherent and self continuous.

Laura's unwavering virtue "Contra autem ilia propositi tenax et semper una permansit" — "She always held firm and true to herself" [p. The implacably personal tale of Petrarch's amorous afflictions sugges- tively designated by Augustinus in the Secretum as a plague, "tuam pestis" [p.

The dedicatory letter brings his response to the tragedies of epidemic loss to the forefront and thus locates his introspec- tive writing within a large, historical perspective: Ecce, iam fere omnia tentavimus, at nusquam reques Tempora, ut aiunt, inter digitos effluxerunt; spes nostre veteres cum amicis sepulte sunt.

Millesimus trecentesimus quadragesimus octavus annus est, qui nos solos atque inopes fecit. Time, it is said, slipped through my fingers; my old hopes are buried with my friends. The year has left me alone and in despair. In Petrarch's Rime the death of Laura occurs during an outbreak of the great epidemic of This is a striking deviation from the habitual ambi- guity of the temporal framework of the Fragmenta: Petrarch's lyrical collection is condemned to exist in time, haunted by this stunning, almost insolent coincidence: Laura's death occurs on an anniversary of the day in which the poet first saw her, a sym- metry blatantly advertised by Petrarch's identical presentation of the two dates in the final terzine of sonnets and It is no accident that the date of the poet's entry into the labyrinth of love his spiritual death and Laura's physical death are coordinated.

Since the collection is punctuated with fifteen poems com- memorating his first encounter with Laura which later converges with her death, 30, 50, 62, 79, , , 1 18, , , , , , , , , ranging from to , each anniversary is a reminder of Laura's enduring hold over Petrarch's life. Whether Laura is dead or alive, the poet's perception of time is dangerously scanned in relation to her. Even when she is alive, however, Laura seems dead, and mourning the essential ingredient to formulate a poetics which identifies in human frailty the stimulus behind human endeavours.

Laura's shimmering golden hair, scattered and knotted by the wind, her luminous eyes, her bearing, her voice, belong to a previous — 31 — Isabella Bertoletti time and state of being in the same way Petrarch's fragmented self is always linked to its past and imagined through metaphors of loss and desire.

In a letter addressed to Phillip, Bishop of Cavaillon Familiares Continue morimur, ego dum hec scribo, tu dum leges, alii dum audient dumque non audient; ego quoque dum hec leges morirar, tu moreris dum hec scribo, ambo morimur, omnes morimur, sem- per morimur, numquam vivimus dum his sumus As you will be reading this letter, I will be dying, you are dying while I am writing to you, the two of us are dying, we are all dying, we are always dying, we are never living while we are here.

The transitory nature of time is punctuated by the dizzying rate of metamorphoses in canzone This composition is reassessed by its companion poem, , as the end of the collection approaches, which depicts the demise of things known to be immortal and erects a poignantly enduring monument to impermanence. Death looms large over the Fragmenta, casting a huge shadow which introduces and propels the narrative forward towards its fulfillment, marking the relentless passage from frailty to silence, eternity, and disintegration in poem In a desperate attempt to relieve the anxiety provoked by the inex- orable and unrepeatable events with which life is saturated — it has already brought Laura and will invariably usher the poet and his work to a state of oblivion — Petrarch looks for solutions to contain his dispersion and steady his course.

Augustinus admonishes him, in the Secretum, that he renounce earthly thus impermanent pursuits. The Saint, thus, discredits the secular, courtly rationalizations adopted by Franciscus to justify him- self, when he maintains that his love for Laura should become a path to sal- vation.

The poet, at times, is painfully conscious of the action he must take in order to correct his mistakes. In the envoy of a powerfully penitential sestina "A la dolce ombra de le belle frondi" , echoing the idolatrous "Giovane donna sotto un verde lauro" 30 with palinodie intentions, he explicitly lays out his path to redemption from the idolatrous desires explored in the former poem: Akramor, altre frondi, et altro lume, altro salir al ciel per altri poggi cerco che n'è ben tempo et altri rami.

The insistence on the word "altro" reminds us of Augustine's words in the Secretum, where the saint describes his conversion: The intermittently penitential moments in the Rime reiterate this view: This knowledge, however, does not inspire a radical and permanent change. Petrarch candidly confesses his weakness in the concluding line of a poem that echoes the Secretum and, just like the prose dialogue, closes with a failed conversion: Petrarch's lack of resolution is underscored by the strategy dis- played in the organization of his lyrical sequence.

In fact, merely three poems after invoking the "altri rami," he places a sinful poem that con- cludes with the statement: In either case, unwilling, or unable, to give up his investment in a mortal object, he accommodates his sinful predicament to a monumentalization of his passion.

His sin, pri- marily, is not that of having strayed from religion for a worldly passion, but that of having made his love into a religion. Peter's — the cloth carrying the imprint of Christ's image at the time when he was walking on Golgotha to be crucified. The significance of the cloth is predicated upon the simultaneous belief in the truth of an incarnate God and in the belief that His visage is reproduced, perfectly, upon the cloth.

Petrarch daringly employs the reliquary for poetic effect by inverting its legitimate claims: Christ figures as mere metaphor or image "sembianza" while Laura has become a type of Christ "forma vera". Laura, momentarily collected into visions of static monumentality and transcendental perfection, often becomes an ornate reliquary: She is also transformed into a jewelled cross: Charlemagne is hopelessly infatuated with a woman.

He shamelessly over- looks both his imperial and his private duties, so much so that his public image is ruined and his own spiritual salvation jeopardized.

When the woman suddenly dies everybody celebrates the emperor's deliverance from disgrace. The emperor, however, secretly refuses to accept the inevitable and embalms the woman. He then carries on ghastly trysts with her dead body which is described with a language that is openly reminiscent of Laura's idolatrous metamorphoses. Charlemagne clads his defunct lover with purple cloths and covers her with jewels: Petrarch extrapolates from this episode a general illustration about the enslaving power of love certainly one suitable to his enamored condition.

In the Rime, though, he acknowledges his inability to disassociate himself from the mundane force of love and concedes that his devotion is endur- ing, constant, and all consuming even after Laura's death. This unusual tribute to the power of poetry is understandable, since Petrarch is engaged in a prolonged and unsuccessful campaign to sway an — 35 — Isabella Bertoletti unresponsive woman. Furthermore, his readers are invited into his lyrical sequence as a sympathetic audience the term "pietà" reverberates through- out the collection.

Most urgently, Petrarch is invested in gaining mastery over the disordering force of death. The representation of death and con- tainment of its devastating effects is central to the Fragmenta, to Petrarch's poetic project, and is no less challenging than Orpheus's undertaking.

Death, like Laura, is a signifier of absence that incessantly recedes towards an unreachable signified. In the last poem, , while professing to close wounds and tantaliz- ing the reader with completion the last word of the collection is "pace" , Petrarch recasts old themes: Christ's flesh dripping innocent blood for the atonement of the guilty becomes the product of the old poetic oxymoron "virginità feconda"- "fruitful virginity" [ The poet, who has blas- phemously displaced the wounds of Christ on the cross with his own gap- ing body and transformed Christ into a figure for his erotic torment, 29 is forever subjected to the woman who has crucified him "con saldi chiodi fisso" nailed there firmly' [ The text, seem- ingly unfinished, arrives to its readers in its pure materiality as a dismem- bered corpus, entrusted with a story which can fall apart as soon as it is assembled.

Staking his claim to life eternal, Petrarch evades the narrative replica- tion of his earlier, spiritual death through sin, the effects of eros on his identity, and, at the same time, he eludes his secular undoing by the liter- al binding and unbinding of a disseminated manuscript. In order to fulfill an aberrant fantasy and transcend his post lapsarian sexual and mortal body the sight of putrefaction, decay and corporeal incompleteness Petrarch tenders his limbs to public viewing, turning himself into a poetic spectacle like Christ and Laura , and makes a reliquary of the woman who has caused his agony.

In the way in which the saintly bodies or fragments — 36 — Mourning Laura thereof revered in shrines will be restored to eternal wholeness and har- mony in Paradise, the idol of Laura is the vehicle whereby the poet's own dismembered body and the extension of his self into a fragmented extra- corporeal existence the Fragmenta will be collected in the "real" world beyond, as a vehicle of his future worldly fama and his secular salvation.

NOTES 1 An eloquent example of Petrarch's denunciations of his vernacular poetry designated as nugae or nugellae is in a letter addressed to Boccaccio SenilesXNll, 3 , where he declares that his vernacular texts do not merit serious attention. All references to Petrarch's poetry are from Giovanni Ponte, ed.

Mursia, ; the source of all translations is Robert M. I will refer to the lyrical collection as Fragmenta from the Latin title given by Petrarch, Rerum vulgarium fragmenta or as Rime sparse from the first verse of sonnet 1.

All further references to the Rime sparse will be included in the text with poem and line number. See, for instance , ; , ; , Petrarch's 'Chiare fresche et dolci acque'. Petrarch's Poetics," Diacritics 5 On the monumental influence of Petrarchismo in defining the standard of female beauty in the visual arts, see Elizabeth Cropper "On Beautiful Women, Parmigianino, Petrarchismo and the Vernacular Style. Sara Sturm-Maddox reviews the distinguishing elements of the physical description of Laura as well as her confined repertoire of actions.

Johns Hopkins UP, The Petrarchan lyric, according to Mazzotta, suffers a loss of referential function and becomes and exercise in poetic self-objectification, "The Canzoniere and the Language of the self". For instances of her post mortem utterances, see poems , , , , , In and , she offers the poet assurance that she is waiting for him in Paradise.

Gianfranco Contini's edition uses Canzoniere Torino: Einaudi, ; Piero Cudini's edition Milano: Rizzoli, , Giovanni Ponte Milano: Mursia, , Robert Durling use Rime sparse, a title more suggestive of the scattered nature of the poems. Barolini, "The Making of a Lyric Sequence: Time and Narrative in Petrarch's Rerum vulgar inm fragmenta? Sara Sturm-Maddox discusses the "cosmic disturbances associated with the death of Christ" presented in 3. Text and Subtext in the "Rime sparse" Columbia: He borrows, for instance, from the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses in his portrait of Laura: On the Ovidian subtext see Peter Hainsworth.

Text and Subtext in the 'Rime sparse. U of Missouri, esp. Greene The Light in Troy: Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry. Yale UP, The Aeneid and Metamorphoses rehearse the myth of the origin of Rome but support diametrically antithetical attitudes towards it.. On Ovid's revision of Virgil, see Daniel Javitch: Remo Bodei, Ordo amoris Bologna: Il Mulino, AMS Press, , Clarendon Press, , 6. I will include all page numbers in the main text. All translations are my own.

Petrarch's assiduous fréquentation of biblical texts and of the works of Augustine is well documented. Carlo Calcaterra Nella selva del Petrarca Bologna: Editore Licinio Cappella, presents a useful discussion or Augustine's influence on Petrarch "Sant'Agostino nelle opere di Dante e Petrarca" and argues that the influence of the saint went beyond the Secretum; Adelia Noferi L'esperienza poetica del Petrarca Firenze: Le Monnier, , ; offers a suggestive correlation of the lyrical poetry and Secretum; N.

Storia e racconto nel "Canzoniere" del Petrarca Bologna: Il Mulino, place the Rime at the center of the literary project that inspires dia- logue.

See also Umberto Bosco, Francesco Petrarca. Laterza, , All translations are mine. For the gloom and pessimism, as well as obsession with death, which followed the outbreak of this catastrophe epidem- ic, see Millard Meiss, Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death Princeton: Martinelli, "Feria sexta aprilis: Cappella, , Durling's seminal discussion of sestina 30 in "Petrarch's 'Giovane donna sotto un verde lauro. Time and Narrative in Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta.

Robertson, A Preface to Chaucer Princeton: Princeton University Press, , 99 is essentially idolatrous in nature. The jewelled cross has also escha- tological significance. In his article on poem 30, Durling points out that the New Jerusalem is described in Apocalypse 21 as being "decorated with 12 kinds of pre- cious stones, including topaz.

Also, see Robert M. The Myth of the Poet. University of Chicago Press, offers a brilliant and provocative reading of Renaissance representations of Christ, the centrality of the mystery of the Incarnation and cultural repression of Christ's sexuality. For Christ to redeem humanity by his death he had to be thoroughly man in every aspect, thus the insistence with which artists represented his genitalia which he connects to the debates about his circumcision.

The night before the violent destruction of his flesh Christ designates the ontological presence of his body in its manifestation as the Eucharist. The Eucharistie body and the resur- — 40 — Moukninc; Laura rected body, each of them incorruptible, underwrite the ontological alliance of body and soul and the exclusion of the flesh, which is understood to fill out the body imprecisely.

Petrarch, unable to disengage from his earthly love and appro- priates the terminology of Christianity for his own cult of Laura and for his audi- ence's reverence of the Fragmenta. On the sociopolitical significance of the body and on the centrality of the body in the Middle Ages, seen as a period in which incarnational aesthetics governed thus not a purely metaphysical period see Jacques Le Goff, 77?

University of Chicago Press, Storia della morte in Occidente dal Medioevo ai giorni nostri. Over Her Dead Body. The Body and Society: The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, Nella selva del Petrarca. Editore Licinio Cappella, The Figure of the Poet in Renaissance Epic. Vincent on his retirement from the chair of Italian at Cambridge. Foster — 41 — Isabella Bertoletti and U. The Light in Troy: London and New York: Italian Studies 34 The Languages of Literature in Renaissance Italy.

Oxford and New York: The Body of Beatrice. Il Canzoniere petrarchesco e Sant'Agostino. Società Accademica Romena, Marin, Louis "The Figurability of the Visual: Petrarca e il Ventoso. Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death.

L'esperienza poetica del Petrarca. A Preface to Chaucer. Roche , Thomas P. Petrarch and the English Sonnet Sequence. Storia e racconto nel "Canzoniere" del Petrarca. Text and Subtext in the "Rime sparse. University of Missouri Press, Petrarch's 'Chiare fresche et dolci acque. Da parte sua la dirigenza fascista aveva messo in atto una politica culturale tesa a mobilitare gli intellettuali sia sul piano ideologico, inserendoli nel grande processo di rinnovamento e modernizzazione del Paese, sia sul piano strutturale, offrendo loro oppor- tunità di lavoro e di carriera.

Come molti intellettuali del suo tempo anche Ada Negri accolse con entusiasmo l'avvento del Fascismo, che reputava l'erede naturale dei po- stulati del primo Socialismo in grado di risarcire il popolo dalle illusioni del sistema liberale. Guglielmotti spiega l'adesione della Negri al Fascismo come una scelta inevitabile: Non poteva non salutare l'aurora di una nuova epoca, dove la giu- stizia avrebbe avuto il sopravvento sulla iniquità e sulla miseria, senza bisogno di alzare barricate, di distruggere ricchezze utili a tutto e di spargere sangue fraterno 1.

La lettura dell'epistolario Negri-Mussolini consente di precisare meglio la natura del rapporto della scrittrice lodigiana con il regime fascista non tanto quale scelta programmatica di tipo politico-ideologico, quanto piut- tosto quale scelta "sentimentale" dovuta all'amicizia che la legava al Mussolini socialista 2.

Un'amicizia sicuramente ricambiata dal Duce anche in considerazione del fatto che tutta la macchina propagandistica fascista che operava per il consenso necessitava di figure pubbliche di richiamo, come Ada Negri, la quale, con il suo passato socialista, rappresentava quasi una conferma dei proponimenti della dirigenza fascista 3. Per comprensi- bili ragioni di politica editoriale questa amicizia fu opportunamente cen- surata nell'immediato dopoguerra dai curatori dell' Opera omnia negriana Milano, Nel volume Poesie, alla poesia "Per la morte di un gio- vane" fu, infatti, depennato il sottotitolo che recitava "In memoria di Sandro Mussolini"; mentre il racconto "Libro di Sandro" di Erba sul sagra- to fu completamente eliminato.

Illimitata è la fede che i buoni italiani hanno in Voi: Siete stato tradito; ma siete infinitamente più forte del tradimento e dei traditori. Io null'altro posso fare che pregar Dio, per l'Italia e per Voi. La vostra devota serva Ada Negri 5 Le lettere della Negri al Duce mantengono tutte lo stesso tono di devozione e di apprezzamento per la sua attività politica.

Vostra devotamente Ada Negri 6 Oppure la lettera del ' Nulla domando alla vita, per me: Di Vostra Eccellenza devotissima Amica 7 Le lettere della scrittrice al "Duce che ha miracolosamente condotta l'Italia a tanta saldezza e potenza" si concludono sempre con espressioni di reverenza "Devotissimamente", "con devota fedeltà", "prego per Voi; Amico mio, con tutta l'anima.

Dio Vi accompagni, Duce: Lo stesso epistolario svela, tuttavia, l'ipoteca utilitaristica che com- prensibilmente gravava sul rapporto: Negri 16 , ai con- tributi in denaro Da parte sua, la scrittrice era consapevole del peso che l'amicizia di Mussolini poteva avere sulla sua fortuna editoriale come testi- moniano alcune lettere, nelle quali l'editore Mondadori chiedeva l'autoriz- zazione ad utilizzare le parole del Duce per pubblicizzare i volumi della Negri Una lettera, in particolare, esemplifica l'aspetto strumentale del rapporto: L'autorità del Vostro giudizio mi farà un gran bene, in un periodo nel quale la giovine poesia e la giovine critica mostrano di compatirmi o addirittura di ignorarmi.

I diritti della criti-ca li ho sempre rispettati, ma c'è un limite. E quell'ignobile stroncatura promette di continuare in altro numero. Io domando al Duce d'Italia: E giusto che un poeta il quale ha ricevuto riconoscimenti nazionali e del Governo sia in un giornale militante trat- La scrittrice faceva riferimento all'articolo di Biondolillo, nel quale il critico attaccava ferocemente tutta la poesia della Negri, la cui seconda parte, annunciata, non fxi mai pubblicata Perché Ada Negri non fu una scrittrice fascista, se per scrittrice fascista intendiamo quegli scrittori i quali coi loro scritti avevano sostenuto la politica del regime o avevano cooperato al generare il consenso popolare verso il regime.

La scrittrice parve, dunque, rifugiarsi nella letteratura come un campo di esperienza alternativo a quello della cultura di regime: Tuttavia, in ambito poetico, alcune liriche sembrano fare eccezione in quanto furono composte in concomitanza di eventi pubblici, quali la giornata della fede oppure la giornata della maternità.

La famosa lirica "L'anello d'acciaio", pubblicata sul Corriere della sera proprio in occasione della "giornata della fede ", è stata spesso interpretata dagli storici come espressione di soste-gno alla politica fascista da parte della poetessa. Una scrii irk i faS [STA? A te lo cinge il popolo, nel giorno del vento avverso, dell'ingiusta e cruda ma non temuta povertà. Con l'oro l'ottenne delle fedi che alle mani delle tue donne amor commise, se in pio rito innanzi all'altare.

Le tue donne Italia: Dall'anular non lo toglier mai Ad eccezione di queste rare composizioni d'occasione, a partire da Di giorno in giorno 1 la prosa negriana, dunque, si arricchisce di ricordi personali, di impressioni, di descrizioni cui si intrecciano momenti di ri- flessione nella forma conchiusa del bozzetto o del frammento.

Anche la presenza di alcuni topoi fascisti l'archetipo della donna "moglie e madre esemplare" e il mito della maternità è legata al fatto che questi temi trovano origine nella elezione di un sistema di valori e canoni appartenenti di fatto alla società tardo-ottocentesca e quindi preesistenti al Fascismo, da questo storicamente recuperati e fatti propri. A titolo di esem- pio basti analizzare la posizione ambigua di Ada Negri nei confronti della questione femminile: L'atteggiamento della Negri, conseguenza di un mode-ratismo aperto alle ragioni dei più deboli anche se deliberato a non condurre la difesa di quelle ragioni sul piano di radi- calismo integrale 24 , si concretizzava nella costruzione di personaggi i quali, nonostante l'insostenibilità della loro condizione, raramente violano le leggi della natura o tentano di sovvertire il corso assegnato al proprio de- stino Le rare trasgressioni naufragano, riportando alla situazione ex ante, oppure sono punite dalla società o da Dio.

In altri termini, l'agnizione delle differenze sociali è assimilata dai personaggi negriani soltanto per renderli consapevoli dell'ineluttabilità della propria condizione di emarginati. Non eroine ma, al contrario, quindi, donne vittime di sé stesse e della società, a cominciare dalle protagoniste di Le solitarie Milano Merry nota correttamente che la Negri "condemns some of the external and visible signs of progress and improvements in the condition of women. The thin typists trotting off to their offices in tight dresses and stocking earn the writer's sarcasm in several incidental episodes.

Le aveva amate come figlie; ma non eran più le sue figlie. Già dai primi mesi della guerra, assenti i padri, assenti i fratelli e i fidanzati, sole a guidarsi, sole a guadagnare, non avevan tardato ad approfit- tare d'una libertà senza controlli. Le mamme, poverette, a casa, coi piccoli. Non si poteva impedire ai sindacati operai d'imporre le nuove paghe, di difendere le otto ore, d'ostaco- lare i licenziamenti.

Né si poteva impedire alle ragazze d'ossi- genarsi i capelli a guisa di vecchie cocottes, e d'ossigenarsi anche l'anima, che si spezzava e s'inaridiva come i capelli. Né agli scioperi e alle dimostrazione di far chiudere ogni tanto i negozi: Anche l'altro topos ncgriano della maternità è sbrigativamente inter- pretato come postulato fascista.

In realtà il mito della maternità nella Negri, oltre a essere cronologicamente antecedente alla famosa campagna demo-grafica del Duce, si fonda su basi diversissime. Per la Negri la mater- nità non è associabile né alla riproduzione della razza, né alla grande nazione italica. La maternità è un evento fisico e spirituale, misterioso, e per questo fatalmente legata all'esperienza della morte della donna o del bambino "Il suo diritto", "Il sonno", "Niobe", "Gelosia", "Gli orfani", "Marcella", "Il prematuro" Era femmina, che importa se cieca?

Era femmina e par- toriva. Già a partire dalla raccolta Le strade la pagina negriana mostra un affinamento tecnico, la vena poetica perde l'irruenza dei primi anni acquistando limpidezza e trasparenza progressiva, e appare sfrondata dalle zeppe retoriche che caratterizzavano lo stile dei primi racconti. La trama presenta una parabola narrativa che diventa sempre meno conclusa nei racconti della maturità, dove la narrazione si fa più vicina al modello dell'elzeviro e del bozzetto.

Inoltre, la collocazione nella terza pagina dei quotidiani dove questi brevi racconti inizialmente apparvero per poi essere raccolti in volume certamente impone la rinuncia alla centralità della trama nel suo svolgimento logico-cronologico a favore dell'episodio, della singo- la scena, di una dimensione cioè, corrispondente allo spazio concesso dalle tre colonne del giornale. E alla luce di queste sollecitazioni che devono essere valutate le novelle in cui è più ridotta la funzione della trama e più moderna la peculiarità del racconto.

S'era alzata alle cinque, prima dell'alba: S'erano, come al solito, impacciate e smarrite un poco, le sue mani lente di sessan- tenne, nell'infilare i vestiti al diavoletto che le sgusciava fra le dita, serpentino, una vera anguilla, nell'allacciargli i bottoni - e ne man- cava sempre qualcuno. Ma il piccino era adorabile, di carni sode e candide, di cuore allegro e pieno d'amore per la sua nonna.

Non parlava mai, neppure per isbaglio — guidato dall'infallibile istinto che è la sapienza dei bambini — della madre, fuggita tre mesi avan- ti con un operaio di vent'anni più vecchio di lei dove i due si fos- sero rifugiati nessuno sapeva: La riduzione delle congiun- zioni produce frasi strutturalmente disgiunte, nelle quali i predicati verbali sono sostituiti da elementi nominali. La profusione di sostantivi appo- sizionali si spiega appunto come scelta funzionale per riequilibrare l'assen- za dei mezzi di congiuntura, C'è negli altri, che sospirano dietro Vittoria-terremoto: Questa predilezione per la frase leggera è perfettamente allineata alla nuova estetica nel campo del linguaggio della prosa, che insiste sulle descrizioni e sull'aumento degli indizi contenutistici che costruiscono un profilo umano o una figurazione di oggetti.

Il ricorso alla prosa d'arte, rilevante soprattutto nelle opere della maturità, è segno di un'ulteriore tensione verso una cali- bratura del linguaggio che tende ad adeguarsi ai dettami del momento. Nel quadro di una evoluzione della narrativa negriana con specifico riferimento alla narrativa, queste raccolte rappresentano uno spartiacque tra la produzione giovanile e quella matura. La scrittura raffinata di questi anni rivela l'ambizione della scrittrice di ottenere il consenso anche di quelle élite intellettuali che non avevano apprezzato le sue liriche.

La fram- mentazione della frase si intensifica con una punteggiatura atipica i due punti sostituiscono spessissimo la semplice virgola che smembra l'artico- larsi del periodo, ponendo tutti i sintagmi sullo stesso piano e azzerando ogni gerarchia narrativa.

Qui il costrutto si infittisce, i segni di pun- teggiatura assecondano e rivelano le intenzioni musicali del periodo e la tensione mimetica del ritmo, prima assenti, come nel seguente brano: Cam- minano, parallele, da un vuoto verso un altro vuoto: Ora s'im- pigliano nella Via Lattea: Dovranno pur sorpassare il carro dell'Orsa Maggiore: Tutto è vita, accettata, amata, difesa, benedetta.

Le seguenti esemplificazioni mostrano la tendenza della Negri a produrre una scrittura che insiste su un controllo geometrico dei sintagmi nella costru- zione di unità melodiche: A poco a poco, con gradazione inavvertita, l'orchestra aerea si atte- nua, si spegne: L'uso della trascrizione metaforizzata va interpretata come la necessità di utiliz- zare una sorta di stratagemma retorico-psicologico che rende più agevole o accettabile la visione del mondo.

In altri termini, par di capire che la natu- ra metaforizzata di Ada Negri si ponga come segno evidente di non accettazione del mondo che muta, del progresso, della modernità, Qualche orticello tuttora vivo, ma destinato a scomparire mostra qua e là magari ciuffi d'insalata, alberelli rachitici.

Dovunque si fab- brica: Ha paura della polvere, e di quel dannato picchiare e scarruco- lare. Una rete di novissime vie, che solo ieri non c'erano: La vita si configura per la scrittrice come contemplazione, in apparenza immobile, della natura che ha in sé il potere di rinnovamento interiore.

Non a caso la scrittrice si paragonerà ad un bruco "che si trova senza difese accanto a me, come io lo sono di fronte alle forze maggiori della mia. Una scrii irk i fascista? Guglielmotti, invidi italiani Roma: Comes, Ada Negri da un tempo all'altro Milano: A Mussolini aveva recensito favorevolmente, Stella mattutina di Ada Negri in Il Popolo d'Italia, 9 luglio , ravvisando nel comune Socialismo il movente per l'impegno civile, che per l'una si era concretizzato nell'esperienza poetica in lui in quello politica "Il Socialismo è stato per la Negri poetica, come per me, ad esem- pio, un'esperienza politica".

Ada Negri, lettera a Mussolini, 19 giugno , Comes Ada Negri, lettera a Mussolini, 4 giugno , Comes Q Ada Negri, lettera a Mussolini, 27 gennaio , Comes La pro- lusione fu tenuta da G.

La cerimonia fu ripetuta all'Università di Pavia. Marinetti tenne la prolusione. In una lettera al Patrizia la Negri scrisse: Al mio fianco erano il governatore di Roma on. Nel le venne conferita dal Ministro dell'Educazione Nazionale la Medaglia d'Oro "per alta benemerenza culturale". Con grande delicatezza aggiunge che io devo considerare tale corresponsione unicamente come un giusto riconoscimento del Paese verso la mia opera di poesia.

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Le Monnier,; offers a suggestive correlation of the lyrical poetry and Secretum; N. Rea porno francais casting escort girl lisieux and vigorously tried to debunk the numerous stereo- types and legends relating to Naples, as all his critical essays. Tale pensione è un "corrispondente" dell'Accademia, chiusa alle donne. Finally, although Sabatini claims that Boccaccio's napoletaneità cannot be found in any specific manifestation, 14 I believe that Boccaccio's Naples and the 'other' Naples, the plebeian world, far away from the life of the theatres and the court, can still be found, but not in his realistic represen- tation of the Neapolitan slums, as Rea asserts on the basis of the letter to Nelli and the novella of Decameron VII, 2. Cerca Chat Per Single Pakistani free chat rooms Similar to Deledda's depiction of Zana, Verga constructs Pina's animalistic or wolf- like sexuality in folkloric terms: Nella selva del Petrarca. New York and London: Augustine, he searches his soul and portrays his secular and spiritual aspirations competing in a struggle that endures into a lingering conflict rather then ending in conversion. Martinelli, "Feria sexta aprilis: Finally, although Sabatini claims that Boccaccio's napoletaneità cannot be found in any specific manifestation, 14 I believe that Boccaccio's Naples and the 'other' Naples, the plebeian world, far away from the life of the theatres and the court, can still be found, but not in his realistic represen- tation of the Neapolitan slums, as Rea asserts on the basis of the letter porno francais casting escort girl lisieux Nelli and the novella of Decameron VII, 2. The poet, at times, is painfully conscious of the action he must take in order to correct his mistakes. In Italy porno esclave annonce escort marseille before the Suffrage but a good deal after the climactic period of Sardinian resistance — it is perhaps less dangerous to stage such a vio- lent allegory of gender re-alignment through the platform of colonial resis- tance than through that of gender .

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Alto è poi il numero delle donne, che supera alquanto quello degli uomini. Laura's image throughout the Fragmenta is that of a different order of being, a flickering apparition with attributes rather than features. Chat Noir", Returning to the scene where Zana snaps "Tutto possiamo! Musée départemental de l'Oise - Ancien Palais Episcopal. In at least two eloquent scenes in the Filostrato, the Trojan women visit first Criseida and then Troiolo:

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SODOMIE LESBIENNE DOMINATRICE MARSEILLE La pro- lusione fu tenuta da G. Quattrocento al Settecento per regionale della scrittura delle donne dal I am late and would like to run home, but my Neapolitan nature is rebelling against the idea — 19 — Roberta Morosini of leaving without first finding out about the "thing. S'era alzata alle cinque, prima dell'alba: Charlemagne is hopelessly infatuated with a woman. This unusual tribute to the power of poetry is understandable, since Petrarch is engaged in a prolonged and unsuccessful campaign to sway an — 35 — Isabella Bertoletti unresponsive woman. È un magistrato in carriera, french sexe video escort yvelines donna importante, forte e ambiziosa.
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University of Toronto Press, Bridging Continents and Cultures, ed. Forum Italicum Publishing, Essays in Honor of Albert N. Italian Workers of the World, eds.

Gabaccia and Franca Iacovetta. La donna che cammina. Incanto e mito della seduzione del passo femminile nella poesia italiana del primo Novecento. Gadda and the Baroque. The Power of Location. Essays on Adespotic Aesthetics, trans. Semiotics and the Human Sciences, Logica del reale e il dovere della libertà. Then, after the results were announced at the Society's annual general meeting 31 May , Halifax, NS , the newly elected Board members met, discussed the current state of the jour- nal, and elected from among themselves a new editor and a new book review editor.

The Board also agreed to renew Dr Manuela Scarci's position as Business Manager and to ask a new group of esteemed colleagues to serve on the Advisory Committee. All these changes have now been implemented and the new governing structure of the journal is in place. You may consult it on the inside of the front cover of the journal. As I assume the editorial reins, I am keen to thank my predecessor, Prof. Francesco Guardiani, for the years of service he has generously given to the journal.

We are all grateful to him and thank him for his devotion and labour. I, in particular, look forward to his continued participation in our venture as a member of the Advisory Committee.

Special thanks are also in order to the past members of the Editorial Board and of the Advisory Committee. During the previous four years their input and advice has been much valued both by Prof. Guardiani, as editor, and by me, as Book Review Editor at that time. As I begin my mandate and look forward to the next four years of work, I am grateful to see on the new Editorial Board and Advisory Board of Quaderni d'italianistica the names of scholars whose profound knowl- edge of Italian literature, culture, language, history, and art will, without a doubt, contribute greatly to the smooth running and efficient manage- ment of the journal.

I am grateful to them for having agreed to serve and I can promise them all that I will often call upon them for advice and counsel. Lastly, I would like to encourage all readers of Quaderni d'italianistica to make this their journal of first choice when publishing their work. I look forward to being swamped with submissions and to being able to publish the best from members of our society and from our readers all over the globe.

In this article, he passionately but, alas, unsuccessfully tries to prove that Boccaccio had a sincere desire to describe realistically the con- dition of the Neapolitan poor. In any case, Rea's article allows us to recon- sider the impact that both courtly and plebeian Naples had on Boccaccio's imagination: What was Naples for the young Boccaccio? A peaceful, ele- gant court or a "falling forest"?

Was it aristocratic or exclusively plebeian? At different times, Boccaccio expresses different feelings toward this city: Finally, I will discuss Boccaccio's Neapolitan works to show that his interest in the lower classes does not extend to a concern for their faith, as Rea claims. A relevant trace of the plebeian or 'other' Naples can definitely be found by adopting a different point of view; that is, by recognizing Boccaccio's auditory sensitivity in ren- dering the vocio, the din of voices rising from the city, a strictly Neapolitan form of polyphony.

With all due respect to the historical and hermeneutic Quaderni d'italianutica. Remembering that Boccaccio spent almost ten years in Naples is crucial to understanding some aspects of his work. If, by now, the strong influence of the French Angevin court on Boccaccio's courtly and chivalric production is well established, little is known about the impact of popular Naples on his sensibility and imagination.

As Salvatore Battaglia realized: Is Battaglia referring to a napoletaneità inspired by the aristocratic and courtly Naples of the House of Anjou frequented by Boccaccio, as other scholars, such as Torraca, would have it? Rea does not share Torraca's view and believes that Boccaccio showed a certain ambivalence in his "double life" as man and writer: Rea concludes that Boccaccio was more sympa- thetic toward the common people than to the court of King Robert, to the point of denouncing their miserable living conditions.

I do not intend to establish which of the "two lives" or two sides of the city most inspired Boccaccio: However, Rea exclusively discusses neglected and definitely uncourtly evidence of passages about Naples in Boccaccio's work. According to Rea, Boccaccio in the Partenopeian city "prepared himself not only to become Boccaccio but, in the process, became a great writer, because he first became a Neapolitan" "Boccaccio a Napoli" It is also true that, as Charmaine Lee highlights, "although Boccaccio spoke highly of Naples, his relation- ship with Robert was never that enjoyed by Petrarch.

Boccaccio, like Dante, had very little good to say about Robert, whom he considered rather dull witted" Boccaccio came into contact with the French vernacular tradition at the court, but outside Robert's restricted intellectu- al circle. It would be interesting to ascertain if Boccaccio was ever con- cerned with the lower classes, as Rea claims about Naples. Boccaccio intro- duces his Eclogues, specifying that if the names of the characters do not carry any particular meaning, the titles of each eclogue have been "careful- ly chosen.

Boccaccio's resentment toward the Grand Seneschal is particularly evident in a letter, "Quam Pium," to Zanobi da Strada ed. Auzzas and especially in his third and eighth eclogues; they both clearly satirize and allegorize Acciaiuoli. Auzzas and Levarie Smarr, Eclogues The allusion to Acciaiuoli's invitation is clear as is that to his involvement in the assassination of the young king Andrew at the end of the eclogue cf.

Léonard, Boccace et Naples ; "L'egloga ottava" and Aneddoti ff. Therefore, while Boccaccio was not indifferent to the drama of the Neapolitan poor, to assert that Letter XIII is either problem- atic or evinces a sense of the tragic, as Rea claims, goes too far. On the con- trary, in two instances, when comparing Neopolitans to beasts with whom he does not want to be associated, Boccaccio is extremely concerned to remind Nelli of his familiarity with the Naples of theatres and banquets: In Letter II , Boccaccio again presents himself as a victim.

Here, he wants to recount, probably to his dear friend Petrarch, a vision that he had in Naples when walking by Virgil's tomb. He defines himself and the common people: Here Cum me igitur vester subditus, ignorantie tenebris involutus, rudis ens, inhers indigestaque moles, informis, sine titulo vivens, cum toto mei curriculo temporis sim Fortune ludibulis conquassatus; même prorsus miserie palliatus, ad fumos stigios rusticorum , semper respiciens lutum agrestium villicorum, audiendo latratus brunellicos eorundem, degustans ligustrica alimenta, odorans fetida que conturbant, tangendo vespres cuiuspiam ruditatis, virgiliana teneret Neapolis I, your servant, wrapped in the darkness of ignorance, an uncouth being, inert and heavy, shapeless, and living without a title, finding myself for my entire life shaken by the strokes of Fortune, wrapped in misery, always coming and going in a dark labyrinth, in the stygian smoke of uncouth people, the mud of the rustic peasants ever before my eyes, lis- tening to them braying like donkey, feeding myself with grass, smelling odours that disgusted me, touching rough thorns Boccaccio.

To be sure, Boccaccio was not indifferent to the drama of the poor? I would say that such an interpretation betrays Boccaccio's sense of irony, which is, in Auerbach's words, "a type of medi- ate discourse, indirectly insinuating," and which, as in the Decameron, "tends to lower once again his realism to a stylistic level devoid of problems and conflicts" cf. If realism is at stake here, it has to be taken into account that Boccaccio wrote this letter when he was fifty; that is, when he had already explored all the possibilities of realistic representation.

His extensive use of irony in Letter XIII is evident in his depiction of the hut and the other peo- ple living in his unfortunate Naples lodging. Rea, however, is not Auerbach. The Neapolitan critic is mainly both- ered by the "letteratura dei piagnistei" "the literature of whining" , as he calls it, and strongly believes that behind those faces, those dripping noses, those livid faces, that unavoidable cough of people the same colour as sweating wax were the Neapolitan slums cf.

Letter XIII 24 , Boccaccio already shows "the sentimentality, the sanctimony, the miserable folklore, and natural dirt of people who generate compassion" "Boccaccio a Napoli" Not that he attributes any trace of sentimentality, pity, or compassion to Boccaccio; Rea does not make the same mistakes as later Neapolitan writers who obscured the truth of the Neapolitan psyche "Boccaccio a Napoli" Rea despises both his contem- poraries and their predecessors because they offer their readers a picture- postcard Naples.

The answer is in another essay on "I figli": Referring to the tale of Peronella, Rea says: Boccaccio, pragmatically, rendered a precise portrayal of the Neapolitans according to his practical, mercantilist imagination.

He searched for their true cipher beyond their tears, their appearances, and their poverty, which may be just as deceitful as wealth itself. After Boccaccio, anything that was written about the complex world of the soul felt inescapably superficial and resulted in a literary tradition that represented Neapolitans not quite the way they were but the way they would have liked to be.

A population that, in order to be recognised as Neapolitan, had to be Neapolitanised "Boccaccio a Napoli" Rea blames Di Giacomo for his "limite signorile" aristocratic limita- tions ; that is, his ability to look deeply into people's hearts, while disdain- ing "to descend into them and touch the good and the bad, orchestrating them as required by their powerful vulgarity.

The poet, according to Rea, has no pretensions to realistic depic- tion. He is indifferent to the social conditions of his own people. He rep- resents "their gestures, the facts. The same harsh judgment is reserved for De Filippo, who would help to discover the past of Naples, but not its future, and for the movie directors Vittorio De Sica and Francesco Rosi, the latter fot his film La sfida.

Returning to the essay on Letter XIII, it becomes evident that what Rea quotes as examples of Boccaccio's napoletaneità elements that Rea finds in the letter and in some stories of the Decameron, namely Peronella in VII, 2 and Andreuccio da Perugia in II, 5 is a transposition to Boccac- cio of his own prejudices and parameters in evaluating the Neapolitan peo- ple. In the final analysis, Rea seems to recruit Boccaccio for his own battle for the re-evaluation of Naples.

If we were to indicate a writer who saw Naples in a kind of plastic truth and her people chained to a silent 'omertà' of interests, we should read again the story of Andreuccio from Perugia by Boccaccio in his Decameron. He wrote the most realistic Neapolitan story of a baffling actuality If, by some misfortune, no proof were to have remained of Boccaccio's stay in Naples and if even history contained no trace of it or, in his books, Naples and its realm were not mentioned, even if all this were buried and obliterated, there would still remain a concrete proof in the world of things and facts that he expressed "Boccaccio a Napoli" By this Rea does not refer only to such Neapolitan tales as Andreuccio and Peronella, but to the pillars that support most of Boccaccio's Neapolitan works.

As I mentioned, Rea maintains that Boccaccio's narra- tive production is based on an ambivalence that stems from a double life that unfolds on two fronts, sometimes clearly separated, sometimes notnThis ambivalence expresses a frustration caused by the clash of reality with dreams and ideals, an opposition that, apparently, is typically Neapolitan.

At this point, Rea's analysis appears especially unconvincing, since the division he offers is too sharp to represent plausibly Boccaccio's experience: It is hard to detect in Boccaccio any real concern for the fate of the Neapolitan lower classes.

Remarkable, instead, is his youthful fascination with Robert of Anjou's court. The Parthenopeian city remains the space where Boccaccio let the "questioni d'amore" unfold; that is, as in the Elegy of Fiammetta, the place of "lietissime feste abbondevole. In , Robert tried to ban tournaments because of their violence; the fact that they were still held reveals the persistence of chivalric ideals among the nobility.

Tournaments are more a ludic and hedonistic event than violent fights in the style of the Old French epics Lee ; Caggese ; Librandi Introducing the tournament between Arcita and Palemone, who fight for Emilia's love, Teseo defines it as a "palestral gioco. Once Boccaccio left Naples, says Rea, he remembered of the city "only the human, visual, auditory part that he felt and fully experienced.

This polyphony also characterizes Rea's essays and his last novel, Ninfa Plebea, which opens with a powerful image: II canto era come il vapore di una pentola pasta e fagioli che salisse da tutti i cortili.

All'inizio, verso il tramonto, fortissimo con voci d'utero- dalle corde di violino alle canne d'organo sfiatate - di vecchie e giovani, giovanette e bambine accovacciate fra le gambe delle più grandi, nonne, madri, zie, cugine, amiche e, alla fine, a sera inoltrata, sperduto come un vocio.

Their song was like steam from a pot of boiling pasta e fagioli in all courtyards. At first, toward sunset, it sounded like primitive voices emerging from violin strings and organ canes, sung by old or young women, babies or maids crouched down between the legs of the oldest, their grandmothers, aunties, mothers, cousins, friends.

Sometimes other narrators are included: Catuccio's tale occupies five pages of the novel. This confirms Rea's strong penchant for a choric narration and also his attempt to preserve the oral tradition of the story- telling. In an essay titled, "Voices," Rea says that the poetry of two of the most tepresentative Neapolitan poets, Di Giacomo and Viviani, "is interwoven with voices" Il Re e il lustrascarpe Voices furnish the background for Rea's encounter with Benedetto Croce: How evocative this image is of Spaccanapoli, a quarter of Naples!

Finally, although Sabatini claims that Boccaccio's napoletaneità cannot be found in any specific manifestation, 14 I believe that Boccaccio's Naples and the 'other' Naples, the plebeian world, far away from the life of the theatres and the court, can still be found, but not in his realistic represen- tation of the Neapolitan slums, as Rea asserts on the basis of the letter to Nelli and the novella of Decameron VII, 2.

On the contrary, traces of the other' Naples can be identified in the paradigmatic image of the opening of Ninfa plebea as Rea himself offers it in the passage already quoted "un — 14 — 'Polypi ionic' Parthknopk vapore della pentola che sale da tutti i cortile. Sabatini rightly asserts that Boccaccio's Neapolitan heritage shows itself in the Decameron through the "warm participation" 1 5 of its characters in a tumultuous reality, but the same can be said of the Neapolitan works as well: Teseida, Filostrato, Filocolo, Caccia di Diana.

One scene from the Teseida is particularly telling on the role of the compassionate crowd. A scene in Book IX is reminiscent, as Limentani says, of an "interno trecentesco o una 'pietà'" Many Greek women join Emilia and Hippolyta in their grieving.

In the same way, on the occasion of a tournament, the citizens and all the lovely ladies arrive and some offer prayers for one or another of the lovers. E spesse volte, le prede mirando, le guaste veste e i voti destrieri, li givan l'uno e l'altro dimostrando, dicendo: The roads and the fields and the roof tops and the houses were all crowded with jubilant people. Everybody chanted the glory of Arcites and the new bride he brought with him. And many a time, as they observed the booty, the ruined garments, and the riderless horses, they began to point them out to one another and say, 'they belonged to such and such a knight, and this belonged to so and so.

The Book of Theseus IX, The crowd's role is- central in the Teseida, whereas a sense of the chor- ic remains in the background in Statius Limentani Each one plays a role: Caccia di Diana represents an unusual, but interesting case of the chor- ic in Boccaccio's Neapolitan works. It very successfully celebrates the noble women of Naples, creating an acoustic experience of the Partenopeian city that Boccaccio would not have found at the court but in the harbour and the streets.

In the Caccia, the action takes place against a rich background of sounds that are not exclusively human voices: The scene is a typical description of a hunt, but with a speed, a vitality that Boccaccio drew from the 'other' Naples and blends with the classical and romance literary models identi- fied by Branca The opening, when "uno spirito gentil volando forte [ The Caccia is Boccaccio's most musical work, but the choric, which I intend here as a concerned participation in the vicissitudes of others, expresses itself as ragionamenti conversations.

In at least two eloquent scenes in the Filostrato, the Trojan women visit first Criseida and then Troiolo: Questi e molti altri parlar femminili, quasi quivi non fosse, udiva quella sanza risponder, tenendoli vili But as we see it happens that one lady, if she is fond of another lady, goes to visit her when new events affect her, if she wishes her well, so many ladies came to pass the day with Criseida, all full of sympathetic joy, and they began to tell her about the event with its arrangements: Said one, 'Certainly it pleases me greatly that you will return to your father and are to be with him.

This and much other womanly talk she heard without answering, almost as if she were not there, for she despised it. Following this episode, Boccaccio comments on the "cinguettare invano" vain chirping of the women that Criseida cannot stand, just as Troiolo cannot not bear the presence, somehow annoying, of the women in his room: Ciascuna a suo poter il confortava, e tale il domandava che sentia; esso non rispondea, ma riguardava or luna o l'altra — 17 — Roberta Morosini In but a little time, the chamber was filled with ladies and music and song The crowd plays an important role in its crucial episodes.

When Biancifiore is condemned to death, the day's events pass from one ragiona- mento to another. Tutti i baroni e l'altra gente, chi in una parte e chi in un'altra ne ragionavano. E molti ve n'avea che, se non fosse stato per tema di dispiacere al re, avrebbe parlato molto in difesa di Biancifiore [ All the barons and the other folks were talking about it, some in one group and some in another And others said.

Others argued in a different way. And so between one conver- sation and another, the day passed. Filocolo II 49, She was surrounded by a vast throng, "niuno era in Marmorina tanto crudele che di tale accidente non piangesse, e l'aere era pieno di dolenti voci" II, 54, 20; "there was no one in Marmorina so stern as not to weep at this event, and the air was full of sorrowing voices".

When Florio and Biancifiore are both condemned to death, Boccaccio provides us with a delightful sketch of "le vaghe giovani," other prisoners, who are moved as they watch from the top of the tower the tragic destiny that seems about to befall the young lovers: Le loro lacrime crescono per l'uccisione, e con quelle la loro speranza della salute di Biancifiore: Altre porgono pietose orazioni agl'iddii per lo salvamento della picciola schiera: A vocio whispers constantly throughout the novel; everybody narrates the story of Florio and Biancifiore: Even when no one is recounting Florio and Biancifiore's story, the ragionare keeps going Morosini, "Per difetto rintegrare" and " La morte verbale".

A detail from the illuminated manuscript Can. Everything is discussed in Boccaccio's Neapolitan" works. Non lo so, io adesso sono venuto Ma di che si tratta?

Ma se non mi sbaglio pare che hanno preso un mariuolo No, no, lo stavano prendendo, ma poi quello se n'è scappato. Un centinaio e forse più di persone si accalca in piazza Mercato davanti a un negozio di giocattoli. Ho fatto tardi e vorrei correre a casa ma la mia natura napoletana si ribella ad andar via senza essere prima informato della cosa.

Hundreds of people or maybe more crowded the piazza Mercato in front of a toy shop. I am late and would like to run home, but my Neapolitan nature is rebelling against the idea — 19 — Roberta Morosini of leaving without first finding out about the "thing. At the close of the Filocolo, one remembers not so much the details of the story with its happy ending, but rather the ensemble of voic- es.

Boccaccio's Neapolitan works are an everlasting polyphony. In the final analysis, Rea's study of Boccaccio in Naples offers proof not of Boccaccio's so-called realism or social consciousness, but of Rea's own battle against a perception of Naples as "the land of singing" and against the Neapolitan intellectuals, writers, and movie directors who have sympathized with the poor without capturing their tragic sense of life.

Rea's continuous attempt is to discredit the folkloristic and annoying leg- end of Naples as a "baraccone delle meraviglie" "cabinet of marvels". True enough, Boccaccio did not pursue this goal, at least he did not conscious- ly chose to do it. Rea constantly and vigorously tried to debunk the numerous stereo- types and legends relating to Naples, as all his critical essays show.

If he does not prove his point about Boccaccio's experience of the other' Naples, he still recognized the importance of the complex polyphony at work in Boccaccio's Neapolitan writings. Interestingly enough, in the Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta II 6 , Naples is "joyous, peaceful, abundant, generous," as opposed to a Florence "full of miserly and envious people. He was the youngest son of the King of Hungary, and his murder brought about the Hungarian invasion of Naples in About the Eclogues, it must be said that in two of them, the fifth and sixth, Boccaccio praised King Louis of Taranto.

In Eclogue VI, Boccaccio was still hoping to be invited to Naples in , when the king and queen returned, and he celebrates Acciaiuoli's achievements see Léonard, Boccace et Naples Its reduction to the land of singing, beautiful moons, beautiful sun, appears to us insulting and offensive. It is worn in the role of a stupid servant.

Here the need to comment on what has hap- pened to other people, leads the protagonist to meet with "una compagnia assai utile, colla quale, primieramente cominciammo a ragionare con ordine assai dis- creto" Corbaccio Lettere e Epistole, ed. Tutte le opere di Boccaccio, ed. New York and London: Garland Library of Medieval Literature, Cheney with the collaboration of Thomas G. The Book of Theseus. Teseida delle Nozze dFmilia by Giovanni Boccaccio, trans. Medieval Text Association, Boccaccio's First Fiction, trans.

Cassell and V Kirkham. University of Pennsylvania Press, Battaglia, Salvatore, Il Filocolo. Le epoche della letteratura italiana: Boccaccio medievale e nuovi studi sul Decameron.

L'invenzione della letteratura mezzana. Le lettere edite e inedite di Messer Giovanni Boccaccio. Pagine di storia medievale. Boccaccio," Giornale storico della Letteratura italiana 78 Aneddoti della vita di Petrarca. L'Erma di Bretschneider, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Editoria dell'Istituto dell'enciclopedia italiana, Les Angevins de Naples.

Presses Universitaires de France, Un poète à la recherche d'une place et d'un ami. Imprimerie de Monaco Franco Cesati Editore, Il viaggio di Florio dall' 'imaginare' al vero conoscimento," Studi sid Boccaccio, 27 Daria Valentini and Janet Levaire Smarr. Zyg Baransky and Theodore Cachey. Holding the Mirror up to Mimesis," Studi sul Boccaccio 20 Saggi editi dal al , ed.

Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, A History of Italian Literature. While he was still living, however, he wrote most copiously in Latin as a way of safeguarding his name with posterity. With his unfinished epic poem in Latin, Africa, on the theme of the sec- ond Punic war, he earned the crown of poet laureate in a solemn ceremo- ny held in Rome in Time's inexorable ticking and its power to oblit- erate horrified Petrarch, both personally and professionally.

At a difficult juncture in the history of the Italian vernacular, while Italy was not politi- cally or linguistically unified, the poet was troubled by the susceptibility of his Italian poems to being distorted by common readers. He repeatedly swore indifference toward the vernacular compositions. Significantly, there is very little mention of Laura in Petrarch's exten- sive Latin writings and no mention of her in the oration delivered by the poet on the occasion of his highest professional achievement, his corona- tion as poet laureate in Rome, where he alluded, instead, to the mytholog- ical story of Apollo's consecration of the laurels as a result of his pursuit of a nymph who assumes arboreal form in a metamorphosis effected to escape his possession, as the paradigm of the poet's pursuit of his laurels.

His Fragmenta, seemingly composed out of compulsion to redress his most immediate longings for Laura, tell a multi-faceted story rather that focus- ing exclusively on an elusive woman. With them Petrarch exposes the most intimate nuances of his illegitimate passion for her and of his moral cri- sis , insisting on the uniqueness of his predicament, yet he was prudent to include in the collection multiple poems on entirely different subjects pol- itics and friendships, for instance , poems which would illustrate how the vernacular functions in the real world and not just in matters of the heart.

In sonnet 90 Petrarch describes his beloved in flight: This image, further- more, suggests the paradox of Petrarch's lyrical project in its entirety. Laura's hair, at times flowing in the wind, at times knotted by it, provides the link between the defining themes of the text and its formal logic.

Petrarch's Fragmenta, to some extent, seem to be the spontanous expression of an unbridled passion, yet they are meticulously collected and ordered. As soon as the Fragmenta allow Petrarch to enjoy momentary release from his relentless obsession, they also renew the emotions that they should redress. Laura's image throughout the Fragmenta is that of a different order of being, a flickering apparition with attributes rather than features. Her shimmering figure comes in and out of focus and her full description, the poet would have us believe, transcends his rhetorical competence "manca l'ardir, l'ingegno et l'arte" — "there fails my daring, my wit, and my art" [ Thus Petrarch relies on the enumeration of a limited number of formalized discrete physical attributes that he reiterates hypnotically, attributes which never come together into a portrait.

She laughs "dolce ride" — "sweetly laughs" [ It is the poet who recollects her words "voi diceste allora"- — 26 — Mourning Laura "you said then" [ Paradoxically, Laura grows increasingly available after she dies, when she appears in the poet's dreams "in sonno" [ The key question to address is not what the Rime sparse are about, but rather what position they individually adopt on the fluidity of perception that they depict with so much virtuosity.

At the outset of the Fragmenta the reader is faced with the identity of a poetic compilation that announces itself as split: In spite of its introductory capacity, it does not firmly situate the poet: Voi ch'ascoltate in rime sparse il suono di quei sospiri ond'io nudriva il core in sul mio primo giovenile errore, quand'era in parte altr'uom da quel ch'i' sono: Sonnet 1 introduces a subject whose attitude of repentance is incom- plete, an incoherent self, besieged by an inner conflict who swings between lucidity and emotion, encapsulated in the utterances "piango" and "ragiono.

And yet, seemingly, Petrarch inaugurated his lyrical sequence with this sonnet in order to suggest that identity should be undivided, static and finished.

Petrarch teases the reader with the phantom of a conversion which would give a strong sense of direction to his text and structure its content in a — 27 — Isabella Bertoletti manner comparable to the use of a vanishing point for organizing spatial per- spective.

By postponing his conversion, the signifying horizon of his lyrical collection vanishes giving way to its multiplicity and points of dispersal. In an unpersuasive palinodie move the poet, like Guido da Montefeltro in Dante's Inferno, xx entertains the fallacious position of recanting a crime yet undisclosed and looking for absolution before sin- ning.

It is, in fact, only in sonnet 2 that Petrarch confesses his offense, his "errore," and then proceeds to reiterate it throughout the scattered rhymes. Era la mia vertute al cor ristretta per far ivi e ne gli occhi sue difese, quando 1 colpo mortai là giù discese, ove solea spuntarsi ogni saetta; 2.

My vital power was concentrated in my heart, to make there and in my eyes his defense, when the fatal blow fell where every previous arrow had been blunted; Era il giorno ch'ai sol si scoloraro per la pietà del suo fattore i rai quando i' fui preso, et non me ne guardai, che i be' vostr' occhi, Donna, mi legaro. It did not seem to me a time for being on guard against Love's blows; therefore I went confident and without fear, so my misfortunes began in the midst of the universal woe.

The presentation of the initial Ovidian scene of wounding in sonnet 2 is accommodated to a Christian setting when sonnet 3 uncovers the litur- gical occasion Good Friday that rendered the poet unarmed and thereby brings the drama of the Fall to bear on his amorous experience. Suffering is advanced as the condition for writing and his poetry, pouring out of a torn subject, seems almost to hem- orrhage from his wounds.

With its allusions to physical death in sonnets 2 and 3 , however, Petrarch reminds his readers that beginnings and epilogues tend to be one and the same in habitual narratives of conversion. In poem 5 the sequence culminates with the simultaneous naming and scattering of the woman who has thus remained unidentified: The final syllable of her name, in the poem's final line, coincides with the poet's last breath and her death "il fin".

The poet, who now chooses to identify with Apollo the Sun , secularizes the spectacle of Christ's crucifixion when the sun was reverently concealed and displaces it with the audacity of his professional endeavour.

It is Laura, not the mystery of the incarna- tion, who exceeds his grasp and requires stronger shoulders the "omeri," which reverently allude to Petrarch's ideal mentor, Homer. The poet's mental image of Laura is the sensual basis of a love that Petrarch is unable to sublimate into a symbolic occasion for elevation. Intermittently penitent, Petrarch recognizes the danger of a desire that has caused his own spiritual degeneration into a fragmented being.

In his most directly personal work, the scathingly introspective De secretu confiictu — 29 — Isabella Bertoletti curarum mearum, xb Petrarch undertakes a prolonged attempt at spiritual healing.

During a three-day dialogue between himself and his spiritual mentor, St. Augustine, he searches his soul and portrays his secular and spiritual aspirations competing in a struggle that endures into a lingering conflict rather then ending in conversion. In the Fragmenta, analogously, he correlates his long and painful pursuit of Laura to a continuous strug- gle which fails to produce a definitive religious epiphany.

Against the lofty background of Augustinian orthodoxy it is Laura who merits the applause of the Saint, while Petrarch can bring himself only to confess his failure in relation to his simultaneous commitments to a view of agency and author- ship as resolved, coherent and self continuous.

Laura's unwavering virtue "Contra autem ilia propositi tenax et semper una permansit" — "She always held firm and true to herself" [p.

The implacably personal tale of Petrarch's amorous afflictions sugges- tively designated by Augustinus in the Secretum as a plague, "tuam pestis" [p.

The dedicatory letter brings his response to the tragedies of epidemic loss to the forefront and thus locates his introspec- tive writing within a large, historical perspective: Ecce, iam fere omnia tentavimus, at nusquam reques Tempora, ut aiunt, inter digitos effluxerunt; spes nostre veteres cum amicis sepulte sunt. Millesimus trecentesimus quadragesimus octavus annus est, qui nos solos atque inopes fecit. Time, it is said, slipped through my fingers; my old hopes are buried with my friends.

The year has left me alone and in despair. In Petrarch's Rime the death of Laura occurs during an outbreak of the great epidemic of This is a striking deviation from the habitual ambi- guity of the temporal framework of the Fragmenta: Petrarch's lyrical collection is condemned to exist in time, haunted by this stunning, almost insolent coincidence: Laura's death occurs on an anniversary of the day in which the poet first saw her, a sym- metry blatantly advertised by Petrarch's identical presentation of the two dates in the final terzine of sonnets and It is no accident that the date of the poet's entry into the labyrinth of love his spiritual death and Laura's physical death are coordinated.

Since the collection is punctuated with fifteen poems com- memorating his first encounter with Laura which later converges with her death, 30, 50, 62, 79, , , 1 18, , , , , , , , , ranging from to , each anniversary is a reminder of Laura's enduring hold over Petrarch's life. Whether Laura is dead or alive, the poet's perception of time is dangerously scanned in relation to her.

Even when she is alive, however, Laura seems dead, and mourning the essential ingredient to formulate a poetics which identifies in human frailty the stimulus behind human endeavours. Laura's shimmering golden hair, scattered and knotted by the wind, her luminous eyes, her bearing, her voice, belong to a previous — 31 — Isabella Bertoletti time and state of being in the same way Petrarch's fragmented self is always linked to its past and imagined through metaphors of loss and desire. In a letter addressed to Phillip, Bishop of Cavaillon Familiares Continue morimur, ego dum hec scribo, tu dum leges, alii dum audient dumque non audient; ego quoque dum hec leges morirar, tu moreris dum hec scribo, ambo morimur, omnes morimur, sem- per morimur, numquam vivimus dum his sumus As you will be reading this letter, I will be dying, you are dying while I am writing to you, the two of us are dying, we are all dying, we are always dying, we are never living while we are here.

The transitory nature of time is punctuated by the dizzying rate of metamorphoses in canzone This composition is reassessed by its companion poem, , as the end of the collection approaches, which depicts the demise of things known to be immortal and erects a poignantly enduring monument to impermanence.

Death looms large over the Fragmenta, casting a huge shadow which introduces and propels the narrative forward towards its fulfillment, marking the relentless passage from frailty to silence, eternity, and disintegration in poem In a desperate attempt to relieve the anxiety provoked by the inex- orable and unrepeatable events with which life is saturated — it has already brought Laura and will invariably usher the poet and his work to a state of oblivion — Petrarch looks for solutions to contain his dispersion and steady his course.

Augustinus admonishes him, in the Secretum, that he renounce earthly thus impermanent pursuits. The Saint, thus, discredits the secular, courtly rationalizations adopted by Franciscus to justify him- self, when he maintains that his love for Laura should become a path to sal- vation. The poet, at times, is painfully conscious of the action he must take in order to correct his mistakes. In the envoy of a powerfully penitential sestina "A la dolce ombra de le belle frondi" , echoing the idolatrous "Giovane donna sotto un verde lauro" 30 with palinodie intentions, he explicitly lays out his path to redemption from the idolatrous desires explored in the former poem: Akramor, altre frondi, et altro lume, altro salir al ciel per altri poggi cerco che n'è ben tempo et altri rami.

The insistence on the word "altro" reminds us of Augustine's words in the Secretum, where the saint describes his conversion: The intermittently penitential moments in the Rime reiterate this view: This knowledge, however, does not inspire a radical and permanent change. Petrarch candidly confesses his weakness in the concluding line of a poem that echoes the Secretum and, just like the prose dialogue, closes with a failed conversion: Petrarch's lack of resolution is underscored by the strategy dis- played in the organization of his lyrical sequence.

In fact, merely three poems after invoking the "altri rami," he places a sinful poem that con- cludes with the statement: In either case, unwilling, or unable, to give up his investment in a mortal object, he accommodates his sinful predicament to a monumentalization of his passion. His sin, pri- marily, is not that of having strayed from religion for a worldly passion, but that of having made his love into a religion.

Peter's — the cloth carrying the imprint of Christ's image at the time when he was walking on Golgotha to be crucified. The significance of the cloth is predicated upon the simultaneous belief in the truth of an incarnate God and in the belief that His visage is reproduced, perfectly, upon the cloth.

Petrarch daringly employs the reliquary for poetic effect by inverting its legitimate claims: Christ figures as mere metaphor or image "sembianza" while Laura has become a type of Christ "forma vera".

Laura, momentarily collected into visions of static monumentality and transcendental perfection, often becomes an ornate reliquary: She is also transformed into a jewelled cross: Charlemagne is hopelessly infatuated with a woman. He shamelessly over- looks both his imperial and his private duties, so much so that his public image is ruined and his own spiritual salvation jeopardized. When the woman suddenly dies everybody celebrates the emperor's deliverance from disgrace.

The emperor, however, secretly refuses to accept the inevitable and embalms the woman. He then carries on ghastly trysts with her dead body which is described with a language that is openly reminiscent of Laura's idolatrous metamorphoses. Charlemagne clads his defunct lover with purple cloths and covers her with jewels: Petrarch extrapolates from this episode a general illustration about the enslaving power of love certainly one suitable to his enamored condition.

In the Rime, though, he acknowledges his inability to disassociate himself from the mundane force of love and concedes that his devotion is endur- ing, constant, and all consuming even after Laura's death. This unusual tribute to the power of poetry is understandable, since Petrarch is engaged in a prolonged and unsuccessful campaign to sway an — 35 — Isabella Bertoletti unresponsive woman.

Furthermore, his readers are invited into his lyrical sequence as a sympathetic audience the term "pietà" reverberates through- out the collection. Most urgently, Petrarch is invested in gaining mastery over the disordering force of death. The representation of death and con- tainment of its devastating effects is central to the Fragmenta, to Petrarch's poetic project, and is no less challenging than Orpheus's undertaking.

Death, like Laura, is a signifier of absence that incessantly recedes towards an unreachable signified. In the last poem, , while professing to close wounds and tantaliz- ing the reader with completion the last word of the collection is "pace" , Petrarch recasts old themes: Christ's flesh dripping innocent blood for the atonement of the guilty becomes the product of the old poetic oxymoron "virginità feconda"- "fruitful virginity" [ The poet, who has blas- phemously displaced the wounds of Christ on the cross with his own gap- ing body and transformed Christ into a figure for his erotic torment, 29 is forever subjected to the woman who has crucified him "con saldi chiodi fisso" nailed there firmly' [ The text, seem- ingly unfinished, arrives to its readers in its pure materiality as a dismem- bered corpus, entrusted with a story which can fall apart as soon as it is assembled.

Staking his claim to life eternal, Petrarch evades the narrative replica- tion of his earlier, spiritual death through sin, the effects of eros on his identity, and, at the same time, he eludes his secular undoing by the liter- al binding and unbinding of a disseminated manuscript.

In order to fulfill an aberrant fantasy and transcend his post lapsarian sexual and mortal body the sight of putrefaction, decay and corporeal incompleteness Petrarch tenders his limbs to public viewing, turning himself into a poetic spectacle like Christ and Laura , and makes a reliquary of the woman who has caused his agony. In the way in which the saintly bodies or fragments — 36 — Mourning Laura thereof revered in shrines will be restored to eternal wholeness and har- mony in Paradise, the idol of Laura is the vehicle whereby the poet's own dismembered body and the extension of his self into a fragmented extra- corporeal existence the Fragmenta will be collected in the "real" world beyond, as a vehicle of his future worldly fama and his secular salvation.

NOTES 1 An eloquent example of Petrarch's denunciations of his vernacular poetry designated as nugae or nugellae is in a letter addressed to Boccaccio SenilesXNll, 3 , where he declares that his vernacular texts do not merit serious attention. All references to Petrarch's poetry are from Giovanni Ponte, ed. Mursia, ; the source of all translations is Robert M. I will refer to the lyrical collection as Fragmenta from the Latin title given by Petrarch, Rerum vulgarium fragmenta or as Rime sparse from the first verse of sonnet 1.

All further references to the Rime sparse will be included in the text with poem and line number. See, for instance , ; , ; , Petrarch's 'Chiare fresche et dolci acque'.

Petrarch's Poetics," Diacritics 5 On the monumental influence of Petrarchismo in defining the standard of female beauty in the visual arts, see Elizabeth Cropper "On Beautiful Women, Parmigianino, Petrarchismo and the Vernacular Style.

Sara Sturm-Maddox reviews the distinguishing elements of the physical description of Laura as well as her confined repertoire of actions. Johns Hopkins UP, The Petrarchan lyric, according to Mazzotta, suffers a loss of referential function and becomes and exercise in poetic self-objectification, "The Canzoniere and the Language of the self".

For instances of her post mortem utterances, see poems , , , , , In and , she offers the poet assurance that she is waiting for him in Paradise. Gianfranco Contini's edition uses Canzoniere Torino: Einaudi, ; Piero Cudini's edition Milano: Rizzoli, , Giovanni Ponte Milano: Mursia, , Robert Durling use Rime sparse, a title more suggestive of the scattered nature of the poems.

Barolini, "The Making of a Lyric Sequence: Time and Narrative in Petrarch's Rerum vulgar inm fragmenta? Sara Sturm-Maddox discusses the "cosmic disturbances associated with the death of Christ" presented in 3. Text and Subtext in the "Rime sparse" Columbia: He borrows, for instance, from the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses in his portrait of Laura: On the Ovidian subtext see Peter Hainsworth.

Text and Subtext in the 'Rime sparse. U of Missouri, esp. Greene The Light in Troy: Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry. Yale UP, The Aeneid and Metamorphoses rehearse the myth of the origin of Rome but support diametrically antithetical attitudes towards it.. On Ovid's revision of Virgil, see Daniel Javitch: Remo Bodei, Ordo amoris Bologna: Il Mulino, AMS Press, , Clarendon Press, , 6. I will include all page numbers in the main text.

All translations are my own. Petrarch's assiduous fréquentation of biblical texts and of the works of Augustine is well documented.

Carlo Calcaterra Nella selva del Petrarca Bologna: Editore Licinio Cappella, presents a useful discussion or Augustine's influence on Petrarch "Sant'Agostino nelle opere di Dante e Petrarca" and argues that the influence of the saint went beyond the Secretum; Adelia Noferi L'esperienza poetica del Petrarca Firenze: Le Monnier, , ; offers a suggestive correlation of the lyrical poetry and Secretum; N. Storia e racconto nel "Canzoniere" del Petrarca Bologna: Il Mulino, place the Rime at the center of the literary project that inspires dia- logue.

See also Umberto Bosco, Francesco Petrarca. Laterza, , All translations are mine. For the gloom and pessimism, as well as obsession with death, which followed the outbreak of this catastrophe epidem- ic, see Millard Meiss, Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death Princeton: Martinelli, "Feria sexta aprilis: Cappella, , Durling's seminal discussion of sestina 30 in "Petrarch's 'Giovane donna sotto un verde lauro.

Time and Narrative in Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta. Robertson, A Preface to Chaucer Princeton: Princeton University Press, , 99 is essentially idolatrous in nature.

The jewelled cross has also escha- tological significance. In his article on poem 30, Durling points out that the New Jerusalem is described in Apocalypse 21 as being "decorated with 12 kinds of pre- cious stones, including topaz. Also, see Robert M. The Myth of the Poet. University of Chicago Press, offers a brilliant and provocative reading of Renaissance representations of Christ, the centrality of the mystery of the Incarnation and cultural repression of Christ's sexuality.

For Christ to redeem humanity by his death he had to be thoroughly man in every aspect, thus the insistence with which artists represented his genitalia which he connects to the debates about his circumcision. The night before the violent destruction of his flesh Christ designates the ontological presence of his body in its manifestation as the Eucharist.

The Eucharistie body and the resur- — 40 — Moukninc; Laura rected body, each of them incorruptible, underwrite the ontological alliance of body and soul and the exclusion of the flesh, which is understood to fill out the body imprecisely.

Petrarch, unable to disengage from his earthly love and appro- priates the terminology of Christianity for his own cult of Laura and for his audi- ence's reverence of the Fragmenta. On the sociopolitical significance of the body and on the centrality of the body in the Middle Ages, seen as a period in which incarnational aesthetics governed thus not a purely metaphysical period see Jacques Le Goff, 77?

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