All entries for July 2006
July 30, 2006
Chapter continues to progress, with 1000 words added this weekend. I'm only half–way through discussing the sixteen eclogues of the Buccolicum Carmen and I've already ploughed through almost half of my chapter's length. Things are getting very dense in the middle and I can tell already there will be a lot of fat to cut away once this thing is cooked through. Better to have too much than too little.
Hope to update again tomorrow.
July 28, 2006
Added some 700 words today — not quite as fluidly as an Alastair Cook century innings — to push my week's work on Chapter V up to almost 2,000. What I did today was mainly concerned with the first and earliest poems of Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen — composed when the influence of Petrarch's bucolics was not yet prevalant — as a kind of pastiche of Virgil's three 'amorous' eclogues. Though it's heavy on the footnotes I'm fairly pleased with what I've put together.
Working two jobs tomorrow, so I'll look to pick up again on Sunday and Monday.
July 24, 2006
Having spent the last couple of weeks reading and noting from Janet Smarr's edition of Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen, I have returned to the Learning Grid to type up the pan scribbled out in my trusty notebook and begin writing.
And this is the worst part of doing my thesis, without a doubt; such dread that flashing cursor inspires, waiting ahead of the Introduction I've to write. I feel as if I can't find any of the threads I let go of when I finished Chapter IV.
I reckon I can give myself until the weekend of the 19–20 August to have this done. After that I'll be too embroiled with moving house and committment to visiting Kate's [and mine] to get anything done until early September at least.
That leaves me one whole chapter still to write — plus introduction, conclusion, corrections and other adjustments — in just one month before my deadline. I have always been aiming for more like Christmas, but trying to balance too much of this project with full–time work in the Autumn won't be easy or fun.
I could do with finishing this chapter in three weeks rather than four, like I did the last one…
July 10, 2006
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.
July 05, 2006
Have waited four weeks now for Janet Smarr's English translation of Boccaccio's Buccolicum Carmen to arrive from British Library on inter-library loan. Concede that I might have done more to work with the Latin text on its own -- which is available online [thanks Carlo] and also in the Warwick library — but at over two–and–a–half thousand verses I've kept putting it off in expectation that the Smarr will soon arrive.
Still, have scraped together enough bibliography — mainly from Bergin's Boccaccio, Grant's Neo-Latin Literature and the Pastoral, and Hubbard's Pipes of Pan -- to start gathering information eclogue-by-eclogue and to prepare for when I finally do get to read them. I feel like I've already located enough threads [intertextuality between the two Bucolica Carmina; the balance of influence on Boccaccio between Petrarch and Virgil] to make for a strong chapter.
Also filled my time with a little research into the Latin eclogue[s] of Dante, written in the form of letters to Giovanni del Virgilio; withdrawn from the Store the definitive edition of the correspondence between the two by Wicksteed and Gardner. As these obviously predate both Petrarch's and Boccaccio's my intention is to include my discussion of them in the first chapter of my study, which will basically chart the history of Virgilian pastoral through the Middle Ages. The thesis now is based on the pastoral tendency of these three great writers of the trecento — as a phenomenon, I suppose — and Andrew has given his approval.
My three previous chapters have now been proof–read and obviously require a little rewriting — generally for the sake of clarity, where I've managed to get a bit tangled up in myself, or where minor inconsistencies exist from one chapter to the next. Will aim to have them all updated before I start any writing on the Boccaccio section.