Petrarch was born in Tuscany and grew up in the south of France. He lived his life in the service of the church, traveled widely, and during his lifetime was a revered, model man of letters.
Petrarch's greatest gift to posterity was his Rime in vita e morta di Madonna Laura, the cycle of poems popularly known as his songbook. By turns full of wit, languor, and fawning, endlessly inventive, in a tightly composed yet ornate form they record their speaker's unrequited obsession with the woman named Laura. In the centuries after it was designed, the "Petrarchan sonnet," as it would be known, inspired the greatest love poets of the English language--from the times of Spenser and Shakespeare to our own.
David Young's fresh, idiomatic version of Petrarch's poetry is the most readable and approachable that we have. In his skillful hands, Petrarch almost sounds like a poet out of our own tradition bringing the wheel of influence full circle.
The sonnets of Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca, 1304-74) helped to establish Italian as a literary language. David Young is the author of nine volumes of poetry, most recently of At the White Window.
Along with David Townsend’s revised translation, this edition provides a rich selection of historical documents, including other writings by Walter of Châtillon, excerpts from other medieval Latin epics, and contemporary accounts of the foreign and “exotic.”
In the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta Petrarch reformed the received Italian tradition, creating a new kind of lyric poetry. In particular, he found solutions to the intellectual, linguistic and imaginative problems which Dante’s Divine Comedy posed for the succeeding generation of poets. Petrarch the Poet illumines the complexities of Petrarch’s poetic vision, which is simultaneously a form of autobiographical narrative, a poetic encyclopaedia and a meditation on the nature of poetry.
The book will appeal to Italian specialists, to those interested in European poetry of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and also to readers interested generally in the nature and function of poetry.
Peter Cole's selection includes poems from nearly all of Ibn Gabirol's secular and liturgical lyric genres, as well as a complete translation of the poet's long masterwork, "Kingdom's Crown." Cole's rich, inventive introduction places the poetry in historical context and charts its influence through the centuries. Extensive annotations accompany the poems. This companion volume to Peter Cole's critically acclaimed Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid presents the first comprehensive selection of Ibn Gabirol's verse to be published in English and brings to life an astonishing body of poetry by one of the greatest Jewish writers of all time.
This bilingual edition offers both the Old Spanish version of Las Mocedades as well as the first English translation of the epic poem. In his introduction, Matthew Bailey examines the text as a compilation of oral narratives passed down from speakers to scribes. Situating it fully within the tradition of Spanish epic poetry, Bailey goes on to review the poem’s critical reception, explains the hybrid nature of the narrative, and looks at the origins of the hero himself. The translation includes explanatory notes to help the contemporary English-language reader understand the social and political circumstances surrounding the poem.
For those interested in the poetry of medieval Spain, the epic tradition, or for anyone looking for a good adventure story, Las Mocedades de Rodrigo will be essential reading.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. He then returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid fight against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface. Drawn to what he has called the "four-squareness of the utterance" in Beowulf and its immense emotional credibility, Heaney gives these epic qualities new and convincing reality for the contemporary reader.