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The Threat of Contentment: Boscán's "Respuesta a Don Diego de Mendoça"

Fri, March 23, 9:00 to 10:30am, Hilton Riverside, 3rd Level - Parish Room


Building on Middlebrook’s work on Early Modern Spanish masculinity, I argue that the recasting of noble masculinity away from the battlefield and into the Spanish court occasioned anxieties to which Petrarchan lyric was seen as the answer. Boscán’s "Respuesta", with its focus on a happy marriage and elaboration of the couple beyond Petrarchan staples of the melancholic poet and merciless beloved, broke with the poetic tradition. Boscán’s moderate tone, suggestions of parity between lover and beloved, and the possible exhaustion of Petrarchism served as a real threat to courtly masculinity. In particular, I examine how Boscán’s rewriting of Petrarch’s "Passer mai solitario in alcun tetto" in these circumstances could have been read as the belittling of the tradition instead of a nod towards a potential future for Spanish lyric, thus evidencing the violence perceived to have been perpetrated and that helped fuel his subsequent marginalization in Spanish Renaissance poetics.


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