Narrator Anton Lesser's honeyed reading of Francesco Petrarch's sonnets is a truly enchanting performance that listeners will want to experience over and over again. For over 40 years, Petrarch wrote sonnets to Laura, to whom he may not have even said a word in his entire life.
Lesser not only summons the passion, wild joy, and despair in the 14th-century poet's stanzas, he also defines the spaces between them with melancholy lulls and charged pauses. Listeners will feel the vitality of Petrarch's poetry even now, hundreds of years after their creation.
This 14th-century Italian poet was a model for many who followed him. His passionate sonnets to Laura became the epitome for love poetry. Over some 40 years he wrote 366 sonnets to Laura, whom he probably never even spoke to, and they remain immediate and affecting even now. Called "Rime Sparse (Scattered Rhymes)", they influenced Chaucer and many others. This is an unusual addition to ‘The Great Poets’, but part of the intention of the series is to cover the major stepping stones of world poetry. Translated by Joseph Auslander.
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