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A History of European LiteratureThe West and the World from Antiquity to the Present$
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Walter Cohen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732679

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732679.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 April 2021

Medieval Lyric

Medieval Lyric

(p.140) 6 Medieval Lyric
A History of European Literature

Walter Cohen

Oxford University Press

Lyric poetry in the classical languages and various vernaculars is evident in the earliest medieval centuries, from the beginning of medieval literature. But an international style marked by shared forms and themes—European literature in the strong sense—dates from the innovations in Occitan love lyric beginning at the close of the eleventh century. That poetry draws on at least three post-classical traditions. One can be traced back through religious poetry in Latin, Greek, and Syriac, itself based on the Bible and in conflict with Manichaeism. A second is indebted to Semitic poetry of al-Andalus, in today’s Spain. A third draws on the Cathar heresy, which has Near Eastern roots. In turn, Occitan love poetry most crucially influences Sicily, where the sonnet is invented. Tuscan poets adapt the form, which via, Petrarch, defines the main line of European lyric.

Keywords:   lyric poetry, medieval literature, Occitan love lyric, Semitic poetry, religious poetry, Cathar heresy, sonnet

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