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“The Beauty that Kills Me”: the Death of Lyric Person and the Birth of the Poet in Joachim Du Bellay’S Book of Sonnets the Olive (1550)


  • Vladimir Avdonin

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


The study analyzes Sonnets 63, 65 and 69 as the key texts of the enlarged version of Joachim Du Bellay’s The Olive. In the sequence of sonnets, some loci communes of “love poems” (Amours) such as innamoramento or description of the lady’s beauty form a kind of a “new beginning”. The paper shows how Du Bellay gradually implants the Neoplatonic and religious motifs that link the middle of his new book to its beginning and its end. Another intertextual link, which is explored, is reference to Petrarch’s Canzoniere in the sonnets 63 and 69. If Petrarch’s lyric person regrets his errors leaving him to guiltiness, Du Bellay’s lyric person sees his defeat as Amor’s providence, and the defeat suddenly changes in discovery of heavenly beauty. The study demonstrates that Du Bellay addresses the ideas of Neoplatonism in order to induct and strengthen the vertical opposition of the world of earth (closely linked to suffering) and the world of heaven. Meanwhile, the poet differs from the strict followers of Neoplatonism, insisting that not the lady but Amor is the real converging point between the two worlds

Suggested Citation

  • Vladimir Avdonin, 2017. "“The Beauty that Kills Me”: the Death of Lyric Person and the Birth of the Poet in Joachim Du Bellay’S Book of Sonnets the Olive (1550)," HSE Working papers WP BRP 20/LS/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:20/ls/2017

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    sonnet; lyric narrative; composition of a book of poetry; Neoplatonism; Joachim Du Bellay;

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    • Z - Other Special Topics

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