• $5.99

Publisher Description

1. Remy Belleau and Thomas Nashe produced their entries to the impotency poem tradition in the second half of the sixteenth century. Where it has already been recognised that Nashe responds primarily to Ovid's Amores 3.7 in his "Choise of Valentines", Belleau's "Jan qui ne peult" is understood by Kuin and Prescott "to imitate and merge two classical Roman approaches to sexual dismay: the self-mockery of Ovid/Petronius on the inexplicable impotence afflicting a young man who disappoints a willing young woman and the aggression (and satire--what, for example, is the speaker doing with an admittedly rich but old partner to begin with?) with which Horace scoffs that his dysfunction is due to the woman's repellant body." [JQ This would seem to suggest that these writers produced their verse in order to emulate earlier, Latin erotic-satiric modes, and therefore offer separate entries to the longer line of works in this area. [2] However, in a reading that pays attention to the intertextual significance of works, which use the impotency motif to respond to antecedent texts, yet with a historically contextualised re-interpretation of sense, Belleau and Nashe's texts can be usefully compared in order to consider why these poets responded to the impotency poem tradition within the context of their own time. 2. The very form and process of writing the love or erotic elegy is predicated on a satiric exploration of the wider political implications of the choice to write or act publicly in a certain way within a wider ideological framework. As Peter Davis says of Propertius: "choosing to write elegy means one thing: not writing epic". [3] Part of the vitality of the impotency poem tradition depends on the self-conscious adoption of positions of seeming social and political 'impotence', by failing to write within the terms of a culturally acceptable literary form. Within impotency poems, then, we see some of the pressures felt by those who enacted public voice at times of particular political and cultural pressure. More importantly, we can explore the implications of those times, as they relate to understandings of nationality and authorship.

1 January
Matthew Steggle
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

More Books by Early Modern Literary Studies