FRENCH RENAISSANCE LYRICS QUESTIONS

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Assigned: Lyrics of the French Renaissance: Marot, Du Bellay, Ronsard. Clement Marot (21-157): read at least a few poems in each of the categories among his selections -- ballades, rondeax, chansons, epistres, epigrammes. Joachim du Bellay (159-265): read 185-97 entire (Les antiquitez de Rome), and at least a few poems each from among those included in the brief collections for this author. Pierre de Ronsard (267-381). Read at least five poems total from among the several collections of Odes (324-53).

Clement Marot (21-157). Read several poems in each of the poetic categories among the selections from Marot: ballades, rondeax, chansons, epistres, epigrammes.

1. One key theme in the various types of poetry in our Marot selections is, of course, love. Choose a poem from at least two of these categories (ballades, rondeax, chansons, epistres, epigrammes) and examine how the poet handles the theme of erotic and/or spiritual love.

2. Another of Marot's concerns is religion. What attitudes do at least two Marot poems of your choosing express regarding spirituality and Christian institutions?

3. Often, Marot's poetry is light-hearted, but not always. Choose a couple of his poems that seem to explore a serious aspect of life and discuss the insights or problems that arise in those poems.

Joachim du Bellay (159-265). Read 185-97 entire (Les antiquitez de Rome) and sample the other categories of poetry in du Bellay (i.e. read several poems from each).

4. In Les antiquitez de Rome, what material image of the "eternal city" (Rome) does du Bellay evoke for his readers? And what inferences does he draw from contemplation of this image about the significance of an individual's life as well as the life of an entire people?

5. Choose a couple of du Bellay's love poems and discuss the Petrarchan qualities you find in them, both in terms of style and subject matter. (L'Olive or Sonnetz de l'honneste amour would be good choices from which to select.) Comment also on how du Bellay's handling of love themes differs from that of Marot.

6. Du Bellay's subjects range well beyond erotic and neoplatonic or spiritual love. Choose and explore a few of his poems from Vers lyriques, Les Regrets, and/or Sonnets divers, which address topics such as the brevity and cycles or stages of life, how to attain contentment, courts, courtiers, the Church, fellow poets, and art itself, among other things. What seems most worth discussing in the poems you choose, and why?

7. Choose a few poems from among the Divers jeux rustiques and consider how (and to what end) du Bellay represents the natural world and what use he makes of classical Greek and Roman mythology.

Pierre de Ronsard (267-381). Read a selection from the Odes (324-53).

8. A stylistic or formal question: do some quick research on the Internet and try to arrive at a working definition of the ode form: what are the main kinds of ode? How does an ode differ from a sonnet? How would you describe the type of ode and categorize the subjects of most interest in the current selections by Ronsard?

Edition. Glidden, Hope, ed. Lyrics of the French Renaissance: Marot, Du Bellay, Ronsard. Trans. Norman Shapiro. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0226750521.