The Augustinian Epic, Petrarch to Milton
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Introduction: Petrarchâs Culpa and Augustineâs Counsel
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This book offers a history of Renaissance epic poetry that starts at the beginning. It therefore starts with Petrarchâs tormented soul, whichâif we accept the most brazen of his self-publicityâwas a soul so exquisitely tormented that it fueled the energies that wrought the achievements that marked the dawn of the Renaissance after ages of darkness. Also, this history...
1. Petrarchâs Culpa and the Allegory of the Africa
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That Petrarchâs Africa would pose challenging and interesting interpretive problems might seem, on its â¹rst encounter, an unlikely proposition. Its account of Scipioâs victory over Hannibal follows Livyâs narrative closely, and most of the details of Scipioâs prophetic dream upon his landing in Africa come right out of the Somnium Scipionis fragment of...
2. Renaissance Allegories of the Aeneid: The Doctrine of the Two Venuses and the Epic of the Two Cities
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In the fifth discourse, Speroni repeats his criticism of Aeneasâs mother with even more exasperation: âshe had Dido fall in love with Aeneas, and consented with Juno that they would be wedded, to the harm of Venus and to the satisfaction of Juno. A ridiculous affair.â2...
3. Petrarchâs Culpa in Gerusalemme liberata
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In the Folger Shakespeare Library is a copy of one of the first editions of Tassoâs Gerusalemme liberata (Ferrara, 1581), replete with marginal notes and verses in Italian and English that were penned by various seventeenth- and eighteenth-century hands. Those that do not serve the purpose of elucidation are laudatory, but for one...
4. The Epic Imitation of Christ: Marco Girolamo Vidaâs Christiad
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With this chapter, I move from unveiling the âhidden truthsâ of the allegorical epics to conducting rhetorical analyses of the biblical epicsâthe Christiads by Marco Girolamo Vida and Alexander Ross and John Miltonâs Paradise Lost. Despite the obvious âallegorical elementsâ in these poems, such as the personiâ¹cations of Sin and Death in Miltonâs epic,...
5. Vergil the Evangelist: The Christiad of Alexander Ross
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The Christiad that is the subject of this chapter represents nothing less than the ultimate Augustinian conversion of the epic form, and it is a truly stunning accomplishment. But even universal agreement on these points is unlikely to repair the legacy of its author, Alexander Ross (1590â1654). Born...
6. Augustinian Epic in Paradise Lost
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Every Miltonist will have recognized in the preceding chapters that my analyses of the Christiads by Marco Girolamo Vida and Alexander Ross argue a âway of workingâ that anticipates the method of Paradise Lost as Stanley Fish interprets it in his landmark study Surprised by Sin. This...
Afterword: Augustinian Epic in Romance EpicâRejections on Spenserâs Faerie Queene
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For some readers, possibly, the rhetoric of my argument in chapter 6, especially the final sectionâs characterization of Miltonâs answer to what could only be, for him, an unacceptable binary opposition in the Augustinian epic between being a prisoner to lust and living a life of contemplative...
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Page Count: 282
Publication Year: 2005