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“Invaded by the World”: Passion, Passivity, and the Object of Desire in Petrarch's Rime sparse

“Invaded by the World”: Passion, Passivity, and the Object of Desire in Petrarch's Rime sparse Abstract This essay seeks to refine the debate on subjectivity in Petrarch's Rime sparse by arguing that while the poems do present a distinct subject position, it is a position thoroughly compromised by passivity. The essay places the poems in the context of Aristotelian and Scholastic theory of “passion,” a term that in its various Greek, Latin, and vernacular forms signifies not only a psychological affect but also a state of being-acted-upon more generally. The Rime 's participation in this discourse is signaled by certain features of its vocabulary, its adoption of ancient poetic tropes, and its grammatical structures. In particular, the use of the passive voice, the grammatical expression of the state of being-acted-upon, at key moments in the cycle presents a subject deprived of agency, maintaining priority in the sentence but ceding action to its object. This passive position grants to Laura, as the poems' object of desire, a rarely acknowledged agency and power, and thus produces an inversion of traditional hierarchies against which the poems struggle but finally fail to contain. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/00104124-1335727 Comparative Literature 2011 Volume 63, Number 3: 235-252 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Knecht, R. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Summer 2011, 63 (3) Alert me to new issues of Comparative Literature Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by University of Oregon Print ISSN: 0010-4124 Online ISSN: 1945-8517 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

“Invaded by the World”: Passion, Passivity, and the Object of Desire in Petrarch's Rime sparse

Comparative Literature , Volume 63 (3) – Jun 20, 2011

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-1335727
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Abstract

Abstract This essay seeks to refine the debate on subjectivity in Petrarch's Rime sparse by arguing that while the poems do present a distinct subject position, it is a position thoroughly compromised by passivity. The essay places the poems in the context of Aristotelian and Scholastic theory of “passion,” a term that in its various Greek, Latin, and vernacular forms signifies not only a psychological affect but also a state of being-acted-upon more generally. The Rime 's participation in this discourse is signaled by certain features of its vocabulary, its adoption of ancient poetic tropes, and its grammatical structures. In particular, the use of the passive voice, the grammatical expression of the state of being-acted-upon, at key moments in the cycle presents a subject deprived of agency, maintaining priority in the sentence but ceding action to its object. This passive position grants to Laura, as the poems' object of desire, a rarely acknowledged agency and power, and thus produces an inversion of traditional hierarchies against which the poems struggle but finally fail to contain. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/00104124-1335727 Comparative Literature 2011 Volume 63, Number 3: 235-252 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Knecht, R. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Summer 2011, 63 (3) Alert me to new issues of Comparative Literature Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by University of Oregon Print ISSN: 0010-4124 Online ISSN: 1945-8517 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview();

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jun 20, 2011

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