Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Tuscan Poetry of the Duecento: An Anthology

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Tuscan Poetry of the Duecento: An Anthology

Article excerpt

Tu.ran Poetry of the Duecento: An Anthology, ed. and trans. Frede Jensen, Garland Library of Medieval Literature A 99 (New York and London: Garland, 1994). xlv + 335 pp. ISBN o-8i3-I625-9. $59.oo.

The aim of this volume is `to familiarize the reading public with the somewhat neglected work of the pioneers of the Sicilian-Proven*al poetic tradition on the Italian mainland' (p. xxxvi). It therefore embraces only those poets, intermediary between the Sicilian school and the dolce stil novo, known loosely as the siculo-toscani; it does not contain any work by the poets with whom the Italian Duecento is most closely identified, the stilnovisti themselves. The choice of fifty-nine poems offers examples of the work of twenty-five poets, seven of whom are known by one composition only. The most ample selections (eight poems each) are from the most prolific of the poets anthologized, Chiaro Davanzati and Guittone d'Arezzo. Bonagiunta da Lucca is represented by four sonnets, and Monte Andrea by three. A welcome inclusion are three canZoni by Inghilfredi, a poet not found in the most widely available anthology of thirteenth-century Italian verse, Contini's Poeti del Duecento.

Frede Jensen produces her own text, the criteria for which she sets out in her introduction. She does not agonize over the Tuscanization by copyists of conventional Sicilianisms and frankly acknowledges uncertainties and conjectures. The introduction, which discusses the identity of the siculo-toscani, their poetic language, the troubadour tradition, imagery, versification and the manuscript sources, is lucid, concise and informative; it concludes with a select bibliography of editions, criticism and troubadour texts (from which the editions alluded to in the notes simply as 'Antonelli' and 'Musa' are, however, missing). The comments on each poem begin with details of the manuscript source, major editions and the poem's theme, metrical form and rhyme scheme; they concentrate the reader's attention on the Italian texts and, in general, convey a good idea of the consistency and provenance of the poetic language in which the poems are couched. …

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