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Ronsard's Mercury

The Arcane Muse

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The poetry of the celebrated French Renaissance laureate Pierre de Ronsard offers a rich, sustained treatment of the myth of Mercury. The messenger-god and inventor of the lyre holds a prominent place in Renaissance letters; in Ronsard's verse he emerges as an intriguing subject of imitation and recreation. This study follows the myth through different poetic programs in which the history of the god is subject to the poet's invention and play. Fragmented and endowed with new associations, Mercury becomes a privileged symbol of the poet's enterprise. Late in the poet's literary production the myth is dramatically imitated - not from classical or medieval sources - but from the poet's personal history of the god.
Contents: A study of the French Renaissance poet, Pierre de Ronsard - Treatment of the myth of Mercury - The poet's use of imitation and mythographic histories is central to the approach.