Stefano Barelli

The Ailing Beauty. Analysis of a Topos in Sixteenth- and Seven- teenth-Century Italian poetry

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Keywords: Italian Renaissance Poetry, Baroque Poetry, Stereotypes, Motifs, Love and Illness.

This article explores a frequent theme in Renaissance and Baroque poetry: the poet praying to a divinity to restore his beloved to health. Already present in Latin elegies, the theme is introduced into Italian verse by Petrarch, who refers to Laura’s illness in four sonnets of the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta. From the early sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century, the subject of the ailing beloved becomes a topos, giving rise to a series of variations and combinations

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