Wyatt Abroad

November 2014
3 black and white illustrations
258 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Renaissance Literature
ISBN: 9781843843887
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC LIT004120, LIT004130, LIT004200

Wyatt Abroad

Tudor Diplomacy and the Translation of Power

William T. Rossiter

An examination of Wyatt's translations and adaptions of European poetry yields fresh insights into his work and poetic practice.
During the 1520s and 1530s Sir Thomas Wyatt, the poet and diplomat, composed a number of translations and adaptations of European poetry (including the Penitential Psalms and works by Petrarch) when he was in embassy, or when he was engaged in other forms of international negotiations.This volume presents a comparative analysis of those poems which were directly or indirectly shaped by his ambassadorial experience. By examining the key points of divergence from and adaptation of his Italian, Latin and French sources and analogues, the author identifes the specific ways in which Wyatt reformed those sources in order to comment upon the lability of Tudor diplomacy and the political machinations at home and abroad which informed it - as well as the personal cost to Wyatt himself. The volume also identifies Wyatt's innovations and his debts, so redressing earlier interpretations of Wyatt's work which ignored its translative ontology. Through noting Wyatt's specific alterations and ameliorations, it allows a clearer image of his poetics to develop.

Dr William T. Rossiter is Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The First Reformer?
'Sovendra du chaseur': Wyatt in France, French at the English Court
'My galley charged': Wyatt in Italy
'So feble is the threde': Wyatt in Spayne
'Inward Sion': Wyatt in Jerusalem - The Penitential Psalms and Soteriological Diplomacy
Conclusion: 'In Kent and Christendome': Wyatt in England


One of this book's many virtues is its challenge to conventional literary and historical periodizations. Rossiter demonstrates how rich a medieval aesthetic persisted in Wyatt's poetry and how a medieval understanding of statecraft shaped his work as a "Renaissance" diplomat. COMMON KNOWLEDGE

Wyatt Abroad exemplifies what literary interpretation informed by a sound grasp of the textual tradition can do. . . . [S]cholars and the critics of the famous division of kingdoms owe Rossiter attention and, indeed, gratitude. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

[Its] strengths lie in the close readings of specific poems in their historical and critical settings as well as analyses of the subtle changes Wyatt makes to the sources he translates and adapts. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

[The] book moves in a direction toward which many scholars have been pushing for years: that of confluence and the overcomnig of the barriers between different disciplines with the goal of providing a new vein of humanistic study. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL

This study deftly fuses literary biography, sensitive close reading, and translation theory. . . . Rossiter is admirably attentive to Wyatt's handling of sources, the deictic ambiguities of his poetic idiom, and his reliance on suggestion, simulation, and dissimulation. RENAISSANCE QUARTERLY

Author Bio

Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, University of East Anglia.

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