An examination of incunabula and early printed editions of Petrarch's manuscript of his poem sequence, Il Canzoniere, reveals an increasing dependence on critical apparatus that privileged individual sonnets over a continuous mode of reading. A long history of layouts prioritising exegesis may have distorted our understanding of the way the genre of the poem sequence was written, read, and understood in premodern Europe. Today's critical editions of poem/sonnet sequences, in both Italian and English traditions, continue to privilege individual poems and marginalise the consecutive, narrative reading mode encouraged by the form of Petrarch's holograph manuscript of Il Canzoniere. An examination of the printing practices employed in Italian books printed between 1450 and 1650 suggests that poem sequences were visually represented as integral and narrative works closely related to other narrative genres depicting love in the first person, and this, in turn, suggests that contemporary notions of the poem sequence genre were thematic, not formal.
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|