In the twenty-sixth canto of Dante’s Purgatorio, the pilgrim-poet meets Guido Guinizzelli, whom Dante acknowledges as his teacher and master. When Guinizzelli asks the pilgrim-poet why he is so awestruck by him, Dante proclaims, “It is your sweet lines that, for as long as modern usage lasts, will still make dear their very inks” (Purgatorio, XXVI:112-114). Dante’s statement suggests that Guinizzelli and the poets of his school, such as Dante and Guido Cavalcanti, wrote such beautiful love poetry that their verses shall last throughout the ages.
While it is well documented that poets such as Henry Longfellow, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound and T.S. Elliot regarded the poets of the dolce stil nuovo as essential, (Longfellow founded the Dante Society of America, and Pound included verses from Guinizelli, Dante and Cavalcanti in his Cantos, and translated several of Cavalcanti’s poetry into English) the question remains: Are the stilnovisti relevant today? This paper will examine the relevance of these medieval masters to modern poets. It will attempt to answer the questions: Are the stilnovisti still regarded as inspirational? What aspects of stilnovismo are reflected in modern poetry? How are these aspects manifested in the twenty first century? These questions will direct my study as I examine the relevance of the stilnovisti today.
|Keywords:||Averroism, Dantesque, Dolce Stil Nuovo, Stilnovismo, Stilnovisti, Terza Rima|
PhD Candidate, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA
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