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beloved and her “fronte crespa” unsympathetically display the advanced age of the cross-eyed beauty.  The sickly color of her wrinkled and leathery face acts as a scathing criticism of the popular contemporary resurrections of the Petrarchan lady.  Yellowed and creased like old parchment, her features smeared like ancient ink, this worn out hag begs to be laid to rest just as she calls for an end to the vacuous replications of the standard traditional blonde.


Francesco Berni’s burlesque poetry presents exciting opportunities for studying sixteenth-century Italian literature.  His work is evidence of the poetic plurality of the time period.  His poems are interesting not because they operate as simple outright contradictions of their contemporary, dominant, poetic traditions, but rather because they deviate in sophisticated and clever ways from that norm.  These deviations seem to reinvigorate, not destroy, contemporary poetic practice by forcing it to reinvestigate its relationship to its poetic past.  Rather than participating in an inherited limitation of the Petrarchan poetic project, the Bernesque genre reinvestigates the Petrarchan originals and rejuvenates its complex imagery and interpretive possibilities.  In the Sonetto del bacciliero, for example, Berni inverts the relationship between the beauty and functionality of the Petrarchan hand in order to parody Petrarch’s feeble lament for the loss of Cino da Pistoia.  He also engages a moment of eroticisation in the Canzoniere in order to raise the status of his own poetry from frivolous to scandalous.  In the Sonetto alla sua donna, Berni presents a tour de force of Petrarchan interpretation, demonstrating his mastery of the Petrarchan lexicon as well as an acute understanding of the subtle and

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