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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

During the Renaissance, erotic love emerged as a favorite theme of Italian intellectuals. From the Neoplatonic treatises of Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, to the works of Petrarch and Dante, the paintings of Botticelli and Raphael, the trattati d’amore (treatises of love) by Pietro Bembo and Leone Ebreo, the learned commentaries on the sonnets of Michelangelo and Lorenzo de Medici, or the medical writings on lovesickness, Italy’s obsession with the subject of love was evident. Italian poets such as Dante were particularly preoccupied with the female beloved, whom they typically idealized as a kind of angelic lady (donna angelicata), a heavenly character, rather than an object of sensual appetite and affection. Thomas Wyatt translated Petrarch’s sonnets, including Rime Sparse, by stripping from them one of their most fundamental features: the idea that erotic love could transcend the beloved’s death. This article examines Wyatt’s erotic poetry, how his Protestantism influenced his translations of Petrarchan lyrics, and his attitude toward Neoplatonism.

Keywords: Renaissance, erotic love, Petrarch, sonnets, Thomas Wyatt, Rime Sparse, death, erotic poetry, Protestantism, Neoplatonism

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