Manuele Gragnolati
Francesca Southerden

Possibilities of Lyric

Reading Petrarch in Dialogue
With an Epilogue by Antonella Anedda Angioy
Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2020
ISBN 978-3-96558-014-5 | Paperback | 12 EUR | v, 216 pp. | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-015-2 | Hardcover | 30 EUR | v, 216 pp. | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-016-9 | PDF | Open Access | 1.7 MB
ISBN 978-3-96558-017-6 | EPUB | Open Access | 1.1 MB
Opening to passion as an unsettling, transformative force; extending desire to the text, expanding the self, and dissolving its boundaries; imagining pleasures outside the norm and intensifying them; overcoming loss and reaching beyond death; being loyal to oneself and defying productivity, resolution, and cohesion while embracing paradox, non-linearity, incompletion. These are some of the possibilities of lyric that this book explores by reading Petrarch’s vernacular poetry in dialogue with that of other poets, including Guido Cavalcanti, Dante, and Shakespeare. In the Epilogue, the poet Antonella Anedda Angioy engages with Ossip Mandel’štam and Paul Celan’s dialogue with Petrarch and extends it into the present.
Keywords: lyric poetry; desire; pleasure; affect; Petrarch, Francesco; Dante Alighieri; Shakespeare, William; Mandelstam, Osip
The critical openness and sensitivity of Possibilities of Lyric, and the fact that the volume discusses notions that emerge as crucial to the theory of the lyric, mark its fundamental importance to this field, persuading its readers to rethink these categories while encouraging new ways of reading texts. — Valentina Mele, Modern Language Review, 117.2 (2022), pp. 300–02 <>
While many medieval poets such as Dante and Petrarch reflect, like Augustine, on the risks posed by the subjection of reason to passion, in Gragnolati and Southerden’s interpretation the susceptibility to desire is not a negative, but is the empowerment of the ability to experience sensation and affection. Passion is precisely what breaks stasis and constraints of reason, triggering the lyric subject to embark on new possibilities entailing forms of paradox, instability, and non-linearity. In the epilogue of the book, poet Antonella Anedda Angioy recounts Osip Mandelstam’s and Paul Celan’s dialogue with Petrarch, and engages with the possibilities of lyric as shaped in our recent past. The contribution of the book is a collection of refreshing and original insights that invites new perspectives and allows us to resemanticize what seemed to be established truths of the critique. — Nicolò Morelli, MEDIUM ÆVUM, 90.2 (2021), pp. 362–63 <>
Insgesamt bieten Gragnolati und Southerden in ihrem überaus transparent strukturierten Band nicht nur zahlreiche anregende Deutungsansätze zur mittelalterlichen italienischen Lyrik. Sie führen darüber hinaus auf theoretischer Ebene die Notwendigkeit vor Augen, literarische Rezeptionsverhältnisse jenseits traditioneller Quellenforschung neu zu denken und weiterzuentwickeln. — Claudia Jacobi, Deutsches Dante Jahrbuch, 97.1 (2022), pp. 179–81 <>
Possibilities of Lyric
Reading Petrarch in Dialogue
With an Epilogue by Antonella Anedda Angioy
Manuele Gragnolati
Francesca Southerden
Opening to passion as an unsettling, transformative force; extending desire to the text, expanding the self, and dissolving its boundaries; imagining pleasures outside the norm and intensifying them; overcoming loss and reaching beyond death; being loyal to oneself and defying productivity, resolution, and cohesion while embracing paradox, non-linearity, incompletion. These are some of the possibilities of lyric that this book explores by reading Petrarch’s vernacular poetry in dialogue with that of other poets, including Guido Cavalcanti, Dante, and Shakespeare. In the Epilogue, the poet Antonella Anedda Angioy engages with Ossip Mandel’štam and Paul Celan’s dialogue with Petrarch and extends it into the present.
Is Part Of
ICI Berlin Press
17 November 2020
Number in Series
lyric poetry
Petrarch, Francesco
Dante Alighieri
Shakespeare, William
Mandelstam, Osip
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
number of pages
v, 216
Table Of Contents
A ‘Miscellaneous Enterprise’ | 1-15
1. The Shape of Desire: Metamorphosis and Hybridity in Rvf 23 and Rvf 70 | 17-44
2. Openness and Intensity: Petrarch’s Becoming Laurel in Rvf 23 and Rvf 228 | 45-63
3. ‘Lust in Action’: Control and Abandon in Dante, Petrarch, and Shakespeare | 65-84
4. Declensions of ‘Now’: Lyric Epiphanies in Cavalcanti, Dante, and Petrarch | 85-108
5. Extension: Reaching the Beloved in Cavalcanti, Dante, and Petrarch | 111-133
6. Body: Dante’s and Petrarch’s Lyric Eschatologies | 135-162
Radure / Clearings | ANTONELLA ANEDDA ANGIOY | 163-184
Notes on the Authors and Translator
Index of Works
Index of Names
has manifestation
ISBN 978-3-96558-014-5 | Paperback | 12 EUR | v, 216 pp. | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-015-2 | Hardcover | 30 EUR | v, 216 pp. | 20.3 cm x 12.7 cm
ISBN 978-3-96558-016-9 | PDF | Open Access | 1.7 MB
ISBN 978-3-96558-017-6 | EPUB | Open Access | 1.1 MB


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Cite as: Manuele Gragnolati and Francesca Southerden, Possibilities of Lyric: Reading Petrarch in Dialogue. With an Epilogue by Antonella Anedda Angioy, Cultural Inquiry, 18 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2020) <>