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Posthumous LoveEros and the Afterlife in Renaissance England$
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Ramie Targoff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226789590

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226110462.001.0001

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Banishing Death

Banishing Death

Wyatt’s Petrarchan Poems

Chapter:
(p.45) 2 Banishing Death
Source:
Posthumous Love
Author(s):

Ramie Targoff

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226110462.003.0003

This chapter addresses the first significant encounter between English love poetry and the Italian tradition it had inherited: the Petrarchan translations and adaptations of Sir Thomas Wyatt. Love played a negligible role as a subject of inquiry in the philosophical and religious culture of early Tudor England compared to Renaissance Italy, and Wyatt’s dismissal of Petrarch’s idea of transcendent love was consistent with a much larger cultural dismissal of both Neoplatonism and the Catholic idealization of the female beloved. In his translations, Wyatt consistently strove to transform the Petrarchan paradigm of a love that extends beyond death into a strictly mortal understanding of love; he erased, in effect, the “in morte” sonnets from the English tradition, ushering in a new mode of mortal poetics in English lyric.

Keywords:   Thomas Wyatt, Petrarch, Neoplatonism, “in morte” poetry, sonnet translation

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