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

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

by William J. Kennedy
     
 

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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,

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.

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 - 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801881268
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
12/01/2004
Series:
Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Roland Greene
The Site of Petrarchism is an original, fearsomely learned, and deftly argued study. Only Kennedy could write this book, but everyone in the field will have to read it and absorb its conclusions. The book is destined for a long life in serious scholarship.

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.

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