Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Great Regulars: In his [Anthony Burgess'] novel Abba Abba (1977),

in which these translations appeared, he imagines [Giuseppe Gioachino] Belli meeting the dying John Keats in Rome and telling him that mere nature-worship leads to "nothing but Truth and Beauty and Goodness till you fall sick", and that the English Romantics could do with calling a spade a shovel now and again. But he also reveres the sonnet which, he thinks, "must have existed in potentia from the beginning", to be made flesh by Petrarch: "In my eight lines X, in my six lines Y, but my total fourteen ever the unity, the ultimate statement whose meaning is itself".

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: From "On Christ's Nativity"--Five sonnets


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