Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Great Regulars: In these poems, Petrarch invented the sonnet

as a vehicle of reflection and thought, in particular thought about the experience of being in love. Shakespeare's and Sidney's sonnet sequences would have been inconceivable without Petrarch's. Yet translated into English, Petrarch's sonnets have a tendency to sound monotonous and overly conventional. Slavitt's impressive achievement in these interpretations, which include almost all the poems in the "Songbook," is to pare down the music of the sonnets in order to make their intellectual core more visible.

from Adam Kirsch: The Barnes and Noble Review: Petrarch: Sonnets and Shorter Poems


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