Lyric Economies: Manufacturing Values in French Petrarchan Collections (1549-60)

TitleLyric Economies: Manufacturing Values in French Petrarchan Collections (1549-60)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsAlduy, Cécile
Secondary TitleRenaissance quarterly
KeywordsEconomy, Love, Nationalism, Petrarchism, poetry, Renaissance, Ronsard
AbstractBetween 1549 and 1560, French Petrarchan sonnet sequences proliferate in the wake of Du Bellay’s Deffence and Illustration of the French Tongue and Ronsard’s Amours. Yet, this proliferation relies on a remarkable economy of means, in large part due to the constant recycling of metaphors, tropes and forms. In fact, the genre can be read as a cost-efficient system that addresses the economic anxiety of a generation of poets caught between the aspiration to impose the autonomy of their art and their social dependence on a patron. It also preemptively solves the potential “credit crisis” that could result from having to establish a new French canon by way of borrowing from the Italians. Looking at Ronsard, Du Bellay and Ellain, this essay examines French Petrarchan collections as “self-sustainable” lyric economies that negotiate, but also manufacture aesthetic, literary, monetary and national values.