The poet becomes poem: The missing object and Petrarch's ends in the Canzoniere

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This article considers the role of the object of desire in Petrarch's Canzoniere. Deconstructive and post-deconstructive readings tend to emphasize the fragmentation and instability of the subject position—specifically, the figure of the poet who is metamorphosing or falling apart. Other readings of the Canzoniere, especially by feminist and psychoanalytic critics, have reappraised the place and function of the beloved. One implication of these conflicting readings is to repolarize the object/subject distinction. Developing a line of inquiry that acknowledges both threads, this article looks at the several endings—the last poem in the cycle, the “Poem to the Virgin,” Petrarch's ending as a subject, and the form of the envoi—to explore a new view of the object's function within the process of subject formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalRomance Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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