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Petrarch in BritainInterpreters, Imitators, and Translators over 700 years$
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Martin McLaughlin, Letizia Panizza, and Peter Hainsworth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264133

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264133.001.0001

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Sidney, Spenser, and Political Petrarchism

Sidney, Spenser, and Political Petrarchism

(p.242) (p.243) 15 Sidney, Spenser, and Political Petrarchism
Petrarch in Britain

Syrithe Pugh

British Academy

This chapter examines traces of Petrarchism in English poets Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sydney. It argues that the engagements of both poets with Petrarchism are more serious, and indeed more political, than traditional readings have implied. It explains that these two poets share Petrarch's condemnation of desire but do not display their contemptus mundi. It also discusses Spenser's recognition of the Petrarch's authority as a model for creating a sense of nationhood in thrall to a monarch and his use of this model to create a counter-national poetry whose authority is independent of political power.

Keywords:   Petrarchism, Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sydney, English poets, contemptus mundi, Petrarch, nationhood, counter-national poetry, political power

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