New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies
Edited By Laura Benedetti, Julia Hairston and Julia L. Hairston
Post-Petrarchism and Language(s) of Desire: Robert J. Rodini 69
Post-Petrarchism and Language(s) of Desire Robert J. Rodini The purpose of this paper is to examine ways in which sixteenth-century Italian poets express desire in the lyric form. I will be concerned essen- tially with poets who write in a transgressive mode, that is to say, with poets who are writing outside the boundaries of the canonical text, Petrarch's Rime sparse. With one exception, they are poets whose gender and, therefore, whose poetic voice differ in essential ways from Petrarch's. In the case of the exception, Michelangelo, I will be concerned with a male poet who, in the poems I have chosen, is addressing an object of desire of his own sex. However, in all cases the object of desire, or the muse, is male. I begin with a series of statements which are patently obvious, but important because they will serve as the foundation for my later remarks. These statements have to do with the Petrarchan model and how that model lends itself to appropriation by Cinquecento lyric poets. They are also statements which have been explored to one degree or another recently by scholars such as Roland Greene and Ann Rosalind Jones in two books: the first on the post-Petrarchan lyric sequence and the second on poetry by women in Renaissance Italy, France, and England. 1 First, in the canonical text and in the poems inspired by Laura, the poetic voice, or "io," functions in the absence of the woman, or the object of desire. Poetry is...
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