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Title: Diogo Bernardes and 'O Lima' (1596) : poetry, patronage, and print in early modern Portugal
Author: Park, Simon
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 5090
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines how the fortunes of poets and the status of poetry were changing at the end of the sixteenth century in Portugal. Centring on the long-neglected verse epistles in Diogo Bernardes's 'O Lima' (1596), I re-evaluate our sense of what it meant to be a poet when writing verse was not a sure-fire way to earn a living and when lyric poetry was regularly lampooned as trifling and immoral. Bernardes's surprisingly forthright cartas, I argue, offer new insights into the protagonists and procedures of literary patronage in Portugal. I use a combination of close readings and sociological methods to illuminate the practical strategies and rhetorical brinkmanship that Bernardes deployed in his quest for favour and highlight the frustrations and moral dilemmas of seeking the support of powerful, but fickle, patrons. Bernardes was a particularly remarkable writer for having printed his verse during his lifetime, and so I also trace how lyric verse was slowly legitimated as a cultural product during the sixteenth century and offer a case study of how an author's reputation was forged in the collaborative enterprise of print, then re-formed by the work of readers, thereby shedding light on the complex mechanisms of early modern canon formation. Paradoxically, I demonstrate that unequivocal praise of a writer's work can harm, rather than help, their chances of remaining in the canon. Although Bernardes's work is an echo chamber for these deep reverberations from the broader history of literature, this thesis also listens closely to Bernardes's distinctive poetic voice and allows it to speak out. Playful, candid, mercurial, it is a poetic voice that here seeks a wider audience.
Supervisor: Earle, Thomas Sponsor: Wolfson Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Epistolary poetry ; Portuguese poetry--16th century--History and criticism ; Authors and patrons--Portugal--History--16th century ; Literature and society--Portugal--History--16th century