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Petrarchism at WorkContextual Economies in the Age of Shakespeare$
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William J. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700019

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700019.001.0001

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The Smirched Muse

The Smirched Muse

Commercializing Sonnets pour Hélène

(p.193) Chapter 4 The Smirched Muse
Petrarchism at Work

William J. Kennedy

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the fifth and newly revised edition of Ronsard’s Oeuvres (1578), which includes a new sonnet sequence written for one of the queen mother’s maids of honor, Hélène de Surgères. It consists of two parts with no overt distinguishing features between them, offering sixty poems in Le premiere livre des sonnets pour Hélène and fifty-five poems in Le second livre des sonnets pour Hélène. To this two-part collection the poet attached fifty-one Amours diverses, thirty-nine of which he integrated into his Sonnets pour Hélène in the sixth edition of his Oeuvres (1584). These years mark Ronsard’s return to Petrarchism, building upon observations about himself and others, spun from experience and fused with a smart, sophisticated use of Petrarchan topoi.

Keywords:   Petrarchism, Petrarchan themes, Hélène de Surgères, Ronsard’s Oeuvres, Pierre de Ronsard

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