Barnes’s collection of sonnets, madrigals, elegies, and odes was published in 1593 and was the first of such collections to appear since Sir Philip Sidney’s earlier Astrophel and Stella. Like Sidney’s collection, Parthenophil and Parthenophe is a series of protestations of love, here of poems praising Parthenophe’s beauty or persuading her to grant her love to Parthenophil. The volume concludes with a triple sestina in which the lover casts a magic spell on his mistress and consummates his love. Barnes’s sonnets and other poems represent the combination of conventional Petrarchan idealism with the classical attitude toward eroticism. A long- neglected minor masterpiece of Elizabethan literature, Barnes’s work emerges here in its first modern edition as a carefully structured transformation of the Petrarchan genre which combines historical importance with intrinsic worth.
In addition to his careful editing of the text, Mr. Doyno has provided substantial commentary on the poems, dealing with previously unknown sources, the rhetorical background, and various problems of interpretation. In addition, in his lengthy introduction he deals with the relevant biography of Barnes, his probable intentions in composing the sonnets, and the classical and renaissance background for the poems. Mr. Doyno’s introduction is the first detailed critical evaluation of Barnes’s work, and, like his edition of Parthenophil and Parthenophe, is certain to stand as definitive for some time to come.
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Victor A. Doyno is Associate Professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He received his Ph.D. degree from Indiana University, and has taught at Rutgers and Princeton.
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Book Description Southern Illinois University P, 1971. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11080930466X