Supporting your high street Find out how »
Basket Image


A Sonnet from Carthage : Garcilaso de la Vega and the New Poetry of Sixteenth-Century Europe, PDF eBook

A Sonnet from Carthage : Garcilaso de la Vega and the New Poetry of Sixteenth-Century Europe PDF

Please note: eBooks can only be purchased with a UK issued credit card and all our eBooks (ePub and PDF) are DRM protected.


In 1492 the Spanish humanist Antonio de Nebrija proclaimed that "language has always been the companion of empire." Taking as his touchstone a wonderfully suggestive sonnet that Garcilaso de la Vega wrote in 1535 from the neighborhood of ruined Carthage in North Africa, Richard Helgerson examines how the companionship of language and empire played itself out more generally in the "new poetry" of sixteenth-century Europe. Along with his friend Juan Boscn, Garcilaso was one of the great pioneers of that poetry, radically reforming Spanish verse in imitation of modern Italian and ancient Roman models. As the century progressed, similar projects were undertaken in France by Ronsard and du Bellay, in Portugal by Cames, and in England by Sidney and Spenser. And wherever the new poetry emerged, it was prompted by a sense that imperial ambitionthe quest to be in the present what Rome had been in the pastrequired a vernacular poetry comparable to the poetry of Rome.

But, as Helgerson shows, the new poetry had other commitments than to empire. Though imperial ambition looms large in Garcilaso's sonnet and others, by the end of the poem Garcilaso identifies not with Rome but with the Carthaginian queen Dido, one of empire's legendary victims. And with this startling shift, which has its counterpart in poems from all over Europe, comes one of the most important departures the poem makes from its apparent imperial agenda.

Addressing these rival concerns as they arise in a single sonnet, Richard Helgerson provides a masterful and multifaceted image of one of the most vital episodes in European literary history.


  • Format: PDF
  • Pages: 144 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: general
  • ISBN: 9780812292367

Other Formats



Available to Download
Delivered to your inbox

to transfer to your device

Also by Richard Helgerson