Pudzner's Translation Of A Sonnet By Francesco Petrarca Summary

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Pfitzner chose Karl Förster’s translation of a sonnet by Francesco Petrarca as the text of the third lied of Opus 24. The Italian Renaissance poet and humanist Petrarca (1304-1374) was greatly admired and influenced poetry across Europe. Some of his sonnets or their translations were set to music by Schubert, Liszt, and Schönberg among others. Throughout his life, Petrarca wrote and revised the Canzoniere, a collection of poems, most of which were sonnets inspired by Laura whom he first saw in 1327. Petrarca’s unrequited love to Laura shows similarities to the Minnesingers’ idea of courtly love, a connection Pfitzner might have deliberately drawn on in selecting this text after the setting of Walther von der Vogelweide’s “Gewalt der Minne”.
In this sonnet, which is labelled as the 92nd in Förster’s translation, the speaker describes how his beloved’s face is imprinted in his memory and how he, as a result, sees the mental image of her all the time. Typically for Petrarca, the sonnet consists of two quatrains with enclosed rhyme followed by two tercets. It is written in strict iambic pentameter with feminine endings.
The two quatrains form one long sentence that contains several subordinate clauses and describes the moment the speaker saw his beloved’s face and the fundamental
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He would have preferred to turn blind so he would never have to see anything less beautiful. His wish for blindness is noteworthy as it also implies he would never again see the beloved with his real eyes. The mental image is so compelling that her presence is not even necessary for the speaker’s happiness. He can enjoy the image in his head in solitude as well. The two verses convey both the intensity of the experience of seeing the other, the speaker’s contentment at having been blessed with this experience and his expectation never again to experience anything

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