This book reassesses the love poetry of Maurice Scève from a phenomenological viewpoint. It calls into question the traditional critical view of Scève as a poet consumed by the anguish and darkness of unrequited love, and frustrated by poetic and erotic quests that lead him nowhere. Professor Nash argues instead that the conflicting forces in Scève's poetic expression of love (light and dark, night and day, heaven and hell) lead ultimately to a sense of equilibrium and a transcendent paradisal state, and that the poet's struggle is actually directed toward this coming to terms with the meaning of ineffable love. Contemplation and portrayal of the ineffable are shown to constitute the central and unifying concern of this compelling body of Renaissance love poetry.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. The problem of the dark side of a love poet: an introduction and reassessment; 2. In search of love's epistemology: affirming the role of the creative imagination; 3. Embodying the sacred and ineffable: poetic forms of transcendence and paradise; 4. Becoming what one sees: the unity and identity of poetic self; 5. Struggle, light, and love's 'sainct lieu'; 6. 'De mes trauaulx me bienheurantz ma peine': love poetry as therapy; Epilogue: Scève, Mallarmé, and the art of transcendence; Notes; Bibliography; Index.