IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 820: Opposing Worlds in Literature

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Matthew Treherne, School of Languages, Cultures & Societies - Italian / Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 820-aThe Natural World and the World of the Emotions in the Poetry of Petrarch
(Language: English)
Jennifer Petrie, Department of Italian, University College Dublin
Index terms: Language and Literature - Italian, Language and Literature - Latin, Mentalities, Rhetoric
Paper 820-bSolo et pensoso i piu deserti campi: The Petrarchan Speculum Naturae
(Language: English)
William Thomas Rossiter, School of English, University of Liverpool
Index terms: Language and Literature - Italian, Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)

Paper -a:
Petrarch consciously cultivated solitude in various rural settings, somewhat on the model of classical otium, as favouring self-knowledge and literary activity. In his poetry the natural world thus often becomes a backdrop to his self-exploration, and also serves as a source of images of changing moods and emotions. Here Petrarch draws on classical literature, including pastoral and the Ovidian landscape of the Metamorphoses, as well as devices such as the ‘spring opening’ of the troubadours. This paper will seek to explore the various ways in which Petrarch uses descriptions of nature to communicate emotion and changing moods.
Paper -b:
This paper will examine the key role played by the natural world in the thought and work of Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch). The lyrics of Petrarch’s vernacular sonnet sequence, the Rime sparse, often configure the subject as drawn to and reflected in nature. The beloved object of the poet-lover’s affections is also transfigured into the landscape, as her name – Laura – homophonically metamorphoses into natural phenomena. The paper will also discuss Petrarch’s defence of the secluded country life, in counterpoint to the corruption and vice of the metropolis, as it appears in his Latin works and letters.