Gewalt Der Minne Analysis

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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
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The view of her beautiful face (v.2) filled his eye with sweetness (v.1) without any effort on his part (“empfangen”, v. 2). The relative pronoun “die” links “Süße” (“sweetness”) to the second verse. The interjected phrase “nicht auszudrücken” (“inexpressible”) could refer both to the sweetness or to the event of becoming filled with this sweetness. The complicated sentence structure, which might be partly a result of the translator’s wish to follow the strict form of the original, underlines that seeing the other’s face was an unfathomable experience for the speaker which he hardly can put into words. Even for native speakers, the sentence is hard to understand due to missing words and inversions. As a result, the recitation of the poem is challenging. The subject of the main clause appears first in the fifth verse, and the reciter or singer should, therefore, try to connect the beginnings of both
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