The Form of the Sonnet: Petrarch, Schlegel, Pastior

Jörg Kreienbrock
Northwestern University
April 22, 2019
4:30 – 6:00 pm
205 East Pyne

In 1973 the German-Romanian poet Oskar Pastior published his so-called Petrarca-Projekt – a collection of thirty-three highly idiosyncratic translations of sonnets from Petrarch’s Il Canzoniere. Pastior’s adaptation of the Petrarchan sonnet as a paradigm for lyric poetry is inscribed in a particular German literary history of Petrarchism that reached its pinnacle in August Wilhelm Schlegel’s reflections on the form of the sonnet in his Vorlesungen über schöne Litteratur und Kunst. This talk will interpret Schlegel’s romantic theory of the sonnet together with Pastior’s project of translating Petrarch as innovative models for a theory of poetic form irreducible to a metaphysical distinction between form and content, traditional definitions of genre, or as an expression of lyric subjectivity.