As the title of the book indicates, it is concerned with the three major groups of Sonnets by Joachim Du Bellay who was, after Pierre de Ronsard, the most important French poet of the Renaissance. The book attempts to demonstrate the underlying structures which create highly unusual patterns and order in these sonnet sequences, which make them virtually unique in the context of Renaissance lyric of western Europe.
Unlike most sonnet sequences of the period, Du Bellay's exhibit a highly organized structure which makes them quite different from the looseness of the vast majority of such recueils, be it Petrarch's or Shakespeare's or Ronsard's, to mention but three such works. Such order is quite obvious in his Antiquités, less so in his Olive, quite hidden in the Regrets, the longest and most important of his works. Secondly, the Regrets is a subversive work which has long been misread.