The Site of Petrarchism: Early Modern National Sentiment in Italy, France, and England

Overview

Drawing upon poststructuralist theories of nationalism and national identity developed by such writers as Etienne Balibar, Emmanuel Levinas, Julia Kristeva, Antonio Negri, and Slavoj Zizek, noted Renaissance scholar William J. Kennedy argues that the Petrarchan sonnet serves as a site for early modern expressions of national sentiment in Italy, France, England, Spain, and Germany. Kennedy pursues this argument through historical research into Renaissance commentaries on Petrarch's poetry and critical studies of ...

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The Site of Petrarchism: Early Modern National Sentiment in Italy, France, and England

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Overview

Drawing upon poststructuralist theories of nationalism and national identity developed by such writers as Etienne Balibar, Emmanuel Levinas, Julia Kristeva, Antonio Negri, and Slavoj Zizek, noted Renaissance scholar William J. Kennedy argues that the Petrarchan sonnet serves as a site for early modern expressions of national sentiment in Italy, France, England, Spain, and Germany. Kennedy pursues this argument through historical research into Renaissance commentaries on Petrarch's poetry and critical studies of such poets as Lorenzo de' Medici, Joachim du Bellay and the Pléiade brigade, Philip and Mary Sidney, and Mary Wroth.

Kennedy begins with a survey of Petrarch's poetry and its citation in Italy, explaining how major commentators tried to present Petrarch as a spokesperson for competing versions of national identity. He then shows how Petrarch's model helped define social class, political power, and national identity in mid-sixteenth-century France, particularly in the nationalistic sonnet cycles of Joachim Du Bellay. Finally, Kennedy discusses how Philip Sidney and his sister Mary and niece Mary Wroth reworked Petrarch's model to secure their family's involvement in forging a national policy under Elizabeth I and James I.

Treating the subject of early modern national expression from a broad comparative perspective, The Site of Petrarchism will be of interest to scholars of late medieval and early modern literature in Europe, historians of culture, and critical theorists.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Sixteenth Century Journal - Robert C. Evans

The book's international perspective makes it especially valuable to anyone seeking a sense of how Petrarch was read and understood in a broader European context.

Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History - Patricia Phillippy

The wealth of materials contained in the book is impressive, the prose is compelling, and the argument is persuasive, detailed, and powerful.

Comparative Literature Studies - Richard Helgerson

This is a book worth reading.

Renaissance Quarterly
Kennedy offers with his new book yet another landmark for Petrarchan studies... Combining sociological investigation, historical contextualization, social psychology, bibliographical evidence, refined close readings, and a breathtaking erudition, this major contribution to a general history of nationalism in Europe takes pain to differentiate with great subtlety the French, English, Spanish, or German concepts and realities of national communities.

— Cécile Alduy

Spenser Review
Imbued with historical learning and literary acumen, Kennedy's study is required reading for all scholarly toilers in the sites of Renaissance lyric.

— Mary Moore

Comparative Literature Studies
This is a book worth reading.

— Richard Helgerson

Sixteenth-Century Journal
The book's international perspective makes it especially valuable to anyone seeking a sense of how Petrarch was read and understood in a broader European context.

— Robert C. Evans

Renaissance Quarterly - Cécile Alduy

Kennedy offers with his new book yet another landmark for Petrarchan studies... Combining sociological investigation, historical contextualization, social psychology, bibliographical evidence, refined close readings, and a breathtaking erudition, this major contribution to a general history of nationalism in Europe takes pain to differentiate with great subtlety the French, English, Spanish, or German concepts and realities of national communities.

Spenser Review - Mary Moore

Imbued with historical learning and literary acumen, Kennedy's study is required reading for all scholarly toilers in the sites of Renaissance lyric.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

William J. Kennedy is a professor of comparative literature at Cornell University. He is the author of Rhetorical Norms in Renaissance Literature, Jacop Sannazaro and the Uses of Pastoral, and Authorizing Petrarch.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents:

Introduction: Fore SitesONE Petrarch and the Site of Petrarchism in Italy

1. Petrarch as Commentator: The Search for Italy

2. Petrarchan Totems and Political Taboos

3. Amor and Patria: Citing Petrarch in Florence and NaplesTWO Du Bellay and theSite of Petrarchism in France

4. Du Bellay and the Language of Empire: The Deffence et illustration

5. Totems for Defense: Du Bellay and Marot

6. Illustrations of Taboo: Du Bellay, Héroët, Saint-Gelais, Scève

7. Mon semblable, mon frère: Du Bellay and RonsardTHREE The Sidneys and Wroth: The Site of Petrarchism in England

8. Courtly and Anti-Courtly Sidneian Identities

9. Family Narratives: The Transitional Space of Petrarchism

10. An Apology for Uncles: Philip Sidney's Defence of Poetry

11. Prosthetic Gods: The Liberties of Astrophil and Pamphilia

12. Byblis and the Bible: Incest, Endogamy, and Mary WrothConclusion: Far Sites, Father Sites, Farther S

Johns Hopkins University Press

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