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Rich with morose invectives, the Italian lyric genre of the disperata builds toward a crescendo of despair, with the speakers damning and condemning their beloved, their enemy, their destiny, Fortune, Love, and often themselves. Although Petrarch and Petrarchism have been amply analyzed as fertile sources for late Renaissance poets in France, the influence of the Italian disperata in this context has yet to receive proper scholarly attention. This study explores how the language and themes of the disperata - including hopelessness, death, suicide, doomed love, collective trauma, and damnations - are creatively adopted by several generations of poets from its beginning in the Northernand Southern Italian courts, to France, at the court of the late Valois, where the disperata found great success as a prolific source of imitation.
Medieval Institute Publications
disperata genre, Italian medieval and early modern poetry, French medieval and early modern poetry; gender; Petrarchism; intertextuality
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | French and Francophone Literature | Italian Literature | Medieval Studies | Modern Languages
Citation for Published Book
Scarlatta, Gabriella. The Disperata, from Medieval Italy to Renaissance France. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2017.