Monday, 10 July
Productive day spent in PGR Room today.
Completed my eclogue–by–eclogue profile of Boccaccio's bucolic collection [that is, the one I was putting together without actually having gone through the poems first] and promptly got to work assimilating the scholarship of Janet Smarr from the edition of her translation. Did I not mention? The book finally arrived last Thursday — after four weeks of waiting on Inter–Library Loan — right in time for me to go away for the weekend.
Nevertheless, what's encouraging is that the prospective chapter is already taking shape before I've had chance to really map my own reading of Boccaccio's pastorals. At this stage, the "essay question" of Chapter V is from the writings of Boccaccio, how can we appraise Petrarch's position within the "pastoral tradition"? And for good measure, how does Boccaccio locate himself within that tradition? Will progress with that until I see fit to alter it — full planning stage can't be far away.
From what I've read so far, it appears that although Petrarch's influence upon his fellow poet was not inconsiderable — the subject–matter of Boccaccio's pastorals progresses from the worldy–political to the spiritual–philosophical as he read more of his mentor's Bucolicum Carmen, over a period of years — Boccaccio still talks of Petrarchan pastoral in terms of a redefinition of the form; a redefinition that he retreats from — or, at least, is not sufficiently confident in his poetic standing to adopt — towards a more modest model that is closer to Virgil's [or, indeed, to Dante's].
So I have an idea of what to look out for before I begin my own scrutiny of the Buccolicum Carmen [two Cs for Boccaccio]. Will be getting down and dirty with some unabashed textual analysis over the next week or two — and, of course, keeping the world informed of any significant discoveries that I make in the course of that time.