Petrarch and the Literary Culture of Nineteenth-Century France

March 2017
333 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843844563
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004150

Petrarch and the Literary Culture of Nineteenth-Century France

Translation, Appropriation, Transformation

Jennifer Rushworth

A consideration of Petrarch's influence on, and appearance in, French texts - and in particular, his appropriation by the Avignonese.
Was Petrarch French? This book explores the various answers to that bold question offered by French readers and translators of Petrarch working in a period of less well-known but equally rich Petrarchism: the nineteenth century. It considers both translations and rewritings: the former comprise not only Petrarch's celebrated Italian poetry but also his often neglected Latin works; the latter explore Petrarch's influence on and presence in French novels as well as poetry of the period, both in and out of the canon. Nineteenth-century French Petrarchism has its roots in the later part of the previous century, with formative contributions from Voltaire, Rousseau, and, in particular, the abbé de Sade. To these literary catalysts must be added the unification of Avignon with France at the Revolution, as well as anniversary commemorations of Petrarch's birth and death celebrated in Avignon and Fontaine-de-Vaucluse across the period (1804-1874-1904). Situated at the crossroads of reception history, medievalism, and translation studies, this investigation uncovers tensions between the competing construction of a national, French Petrarch and a local, Avignonese or Provençal poet. Taking Petrarch as its litmus test, this book also asks probing questions about the bases of nationality, identity, and belonging.

Jennifer Rushworth is a Junior Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Local History, Local Stories
Complete Translations of Petrarch's Canzoniere
Partial Translations of Petrarch's Canzoniere
Finding Laura in the Triumphi and Petrarch's Latin Works
Petrarch and Avignon: The Fate of the Sine nomine and RVF 136-8
Petrarch in Poetry
The Novelization of Petrarch
Conclusion: Petrarch and Patriotism
Appendix 1: A Chronological Survey of Translations of Petrarch's Italian Poetry [the Canzoniere and Triumphi] between 1764 and 1903 in France
Appendix 2: Translations of the Opening Stanza of RVF 126 from Voltaire [1756] to Brisset [1903]


This learned essay allows us to appreciate the performativity of the myth of a French-Italian Petrarch, and it may well be a first step towards a more comprehensive subject and a more complex challenge for Cultural Studies-uncovering the myth of a European Petrarch. COMITATUS

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