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The Metaphor of the Kiss in Renaissance Poetry

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Ruth E. Gooley

The kiss poems created by the Dutch poet Johannes Secundus became important in French Renaissance love poetry, their field of meaning ranging from a simple fascination with erotica to a more comprehensive exploration of a cosmic world vision. Confusing the Platonic furors, French poets tended to identify amorous madness with poetic production. The text explores this new notion of poetry through textual analyses of kiss poems, ranging from those of Secundus through Ronsard and other Pléiade poets, as well as individuals such as Scève, Labé and D'Aubigné. Interested in exploring the bases of poetic thought, the text links the kiss to a more general theory of poetics, wherein love symbolizes poetic production. If the kiss thus becomes a metaphor for the creative act, this is due to poetry's essentially selfreflexive nature: images such as the kiss allow to explore its own essence.