Cast out: the topos of exile in Cecco Angiolieri, Pietro de' Faitinelli, and Pieraccio Tedaldi (1).
For several decades, scholarship has recognized the thematic similarities among the various poeti giocosi. In the introductions to their respective anthologies, Mario Marti and Maurizio Vitale enumerate some of the motifs shared by those poets, such as the complaints against fortune and poverty, the insult of others, misogynist statements, sensual loves, and political assertions. (2) At the same time, Marti and Vitale note the impact of earlier and highly influential jocose poets, such as Cecco Angiolieri, on subsequent writers of that style. For example, in his explanatory footnotes, Marti points out the similarities of several of Cecco Nuccoli's verses to those by Angiolieri. (3) Moreover, Vitale finds reminiscences of Angiolieri's "Senno non vale a cui fortuna e conta" in Giuntino Lanfredi's sonnet "Vento a levante e di meridiana" (Rimatori comico-realistici 537). One area not studied in depth by scholars, however, is the topic of exile. Several poets write about their own cases of banishment. Cecco Angiolieri, Pietro de' Faitinelli and Pieraccio Tedaldi all complain about their current situations and envision their happiness, should they ever be allowed to return to their native cities. Beyond the particular personal, biographical circumstances that may have inspired these sonnets, stylistic elements suggest a chain of direct influence among the poets in question. Intertextualities among the three writers suggest awareness of the poetic tradition of Tuscany at the time. They may express personal sentiments in their poetry but they are also self-conscious participants in a literary movement.
While other poets such as Rustico Filippi and Folgore da San Gimignano dedicate several sonnets each to political matters, (4) the Sienese poet Cecco Angiolieri (ca. 1260-1312) almost never brings up contemporary politics in his verse. Yet Angiolieri alludes to some sort of estrangement from Siena in the following lyric:
Se Die m'aiuti, a le sante guagnele, s'i' veggio 'l di sia 'n Siena ribandito, dato mi foss'entro l'occhio col dito, a soffrire mi parra latt'e mele. E parro un colombo senza fele, tanto staro di bon core gecchito, pero ch'i' abbo tanto mal patito che pieta n'avrebb'ogni crudele. E tutto questo mal mi parrebb'oro sed i' avesse pur tanta speranza quant'han color che stanno 'n Purgatoro. Ma elli e tanta la mie sciaguranza ch'ivi farabb'a quell'otta dimoro che babb'ed i' saremo in accordanza. (5)
The exact cause of Angiolieri's exile, whether for political or economic reasons, is not currently known. Perhaps he imitates the goliardic motif of the clerici vagantes in this sonnet (Waddell, 177-191); the twelfth-century Latin poets frequently used their positions as impoverished outsiders to castigate vice and the corruption of social and political institutions. (6) Angiolieri's appropriation of goliardic topoi has been well documented by scholarship (Marti, "Cecco Angiolieri" 85-94). While the possibility exists that Angiolieri had in mind the goliardic literary movement when he wrote this sonnet, he also reiterates the idea of banishment in other poems. In his sonnet, "Dante Alighier, s'i' so' buon begolardo," he seems to contrast Dante's meanderings to his own current condition: "s'io so' fatto romano, e tu lombardo" (v. 8). Cecco's assertion of Dante being a "Lombard" probably refers to the residence of the great poet in Verona at the court of Can Grande della Scala (1303-04). Thus, it appears that Angiolieri found himself in Rome during the first years of the fourteenth century. Additionally, the sixteenth-century scholar and descendent of Angiolieri, Celso Cittadini, who was responsible for compiling the manuscript Siena H X 47, annotates therein the sonnet addressed to Dante. He adds an explanatory note, which both expands upon Angiolieri's exile and relates it to the events narrated by Boccaccio (Decameron 9: 4). Cittadini writes: "[...] perche Cecco ando a Roma a stare in casa del Con(te) Riccardo Petroni sanese molto suo sign(ore) [other ink: "e parente"] come tocca il Bocco [Boccaccio] nella 87n. [...]" (f. 7v).It is not clear how much merit to give to Cittadini's marginal comment; he does not provide the source of his information, and Siena H X 47 was written in 1597, almost three centuries after Angiolieri's death. Furthermore, Boccaccio says nothing about Angiolieri visiting Rome after the events narrated in the Decameron. Nonetheless, Cittadini's indication of Angiolieri's possible refuge at the house of a powerful relative constitutes a precious biographical datum about the life of the poet. From the information possessed, we can reasonably deduce both the approximate date of Angiolieri's banishment and the fact that he probably took shelter in Rome.
Angiolieri constructs the sonnet "Se Die m'aiuti, a le sante guagnele" around the use--or abuse--of religious terminology. He opens the poem with an appeal to God's assistance, but immediately follows it with a blasphemous interjection (v. 1). He then explains that, if he lives to see the day when his banishment from Siena is lifted, all pain, even that of a finger in the eye, will feel joyful to him (vv. 2-4). The description of being poked in the eye seems to recall distantly Christ's admonition: "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away" (Matthew 5:29). If the echo of the Gospel is deliberate, then Angiolieri envisions his return to Siena as like a cleansing of the flesh of sin. In the following verse, the poet employs much clearer biblical language to express his imagined happiness, saying that it will be like milk and honey ("latt'e mele," v. 4). The latter, more direct citation of the Bible reinforces the interpretation of the previous verse as being based upon the Gospel of Matthew. In the book of Exodus, the Lord describes the Promised Land to Moses as "flowing with milk and honey" (8:8). In other words, Cecco's current condition is akin to that of the Israelites' servitude in Egypt. He establishes a parallel between his current banishment and that of the ancient Jews. More generally, since during the Middle Ages the story of Exodus was frequently read as an analogue to humankind's state of sinfulness prior to Christ's advent, (8)Cecco likens his exile to a state of permanent sinfulness and punishment. Through the use of biblical and spiritual terminology, the opening quatrain suggests a sinful quality to Angiolieri's current situation and contrasts it with the idea that to return will be like paradise.
In the second quatrain, he explains that he will be like a dove without bitterness (v. 5); Antonio Lanza notes that those birds were described in the bestiaries as lacking bile (66n4). Furthermore, the image of the dove corresponds to the appropriation of mystical terminology already seen in the first quatrain. It recollects the story of Noah who knew the flood had ended when the dove returned to the ark with an olive branch in its beak (Genesis 8:11). Again, by recalling the biblical flood, Angiolieri instills into this sonnet the comparison of his future return to Siena with the arrival at a Promised Land or paradise. He thus reiterates the notion of the cleansing from sin. Cecco continues by promising that he will live humbly and asserts that his suffering will soften the hearts of even the most cruel (vv. 6-8). In the first tercet, the rationale for the poet's borrowing of biblical and spiritual language comes into sharp focus. He claims that all his suffering would seem as pure as gold if he only had the hope of those in purgatory (vv. 9-11). By phrasing the latter statement as a hypothesis of impossibility, Angiolieri makes clear that he has no hope of ever returning home. But the poet's reference to purgatory implies more than despair. At this point, the reader becomes aware that Angiolieri sets up two structural parallels in the poem: between exile and hell, and between Siena and an unattainable paradise. Hence, images of current sinfulness and future, or rather, hypothetical redemption act in concert to underscore the notion that Cecco has lost all hope and that his exile is more than a temporary purgatory but rather a permanent damnation.
In the final tercet, Angiolieri draws a second element of the sonnet into focus. In a previous study, I noted that Angiolieri foregrounds his self- presentation in this sonnet (170-74). At that time, I argued that Cecco's poetic persona is not necessarily an accurate representation of Angiolieri, the historical person. While Angiolieri may utilize some biographical data to give verisimilitude to his self-portrait, it is ultimately a literary construct carefully crafted for artistic objectives. In this sonnet, he employs the persona to make a statement about the banished. If exile is like hell, then Angiolieri draws a natural conclusion about the nature of the exiled individual. He explains that he will never return to his native city by sarcastically stating that it will occur when he and his father are in agreement (vv. 12-14). Antipaternal hatred is a topos of Angiolieri's poetics but it also functions within the economy of the sonnet to establish an unreliable narrating voice. In the sixth commandment, God instructs human beings to "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12). In almost all of his poems, Angiolieri constructs a deliberately negative poetic persona and this sonnet is no exception.By publicly writing of his animus towards his father, Angiolieri portrays himself to be a sinner who violates at least one of the biblical commandments. Indeed, since he describes himself throughout the poem as a damned soul, he consciously undercuts the sympathy evoked for his situation. After all, as Virgil explains to Dante in Inferno, since God's justice is infallible, a person should not have pity for those condemned to hell: "Qui vive la pieta quand'e ben morta" (20:28). (10) Throughout the sonnet, Angiolieri deliberately casts himself as responsible for his unfortunate circumstances. Hence, he blasphemes in the incipit verse, he postpones purging himself of sin until some unspecified future date (vv. 3, 5, 6) and recalls for the reader that he is not an obedient son (vv. 12-14). The poet writes an internally consistent sonnet in which exile is depicted as a sinful hell on earth and the banished individual is a sinner deserving of such punishment. Angiolieri's poetic acumen was not missed by the readers of the fourteenth century for, as shall be shown below, his sonnet became a type of palimpsest for other writers.
The poet from Lucca, Pietro de' Faitinelli (b. ca. 1280-1290; d. 1349), has a corpus of some eighteen poems, ten of which deal explicitly with political struggles. In 1313, Pisa, the Tuscan stronghold of the Ghibellines, named Uguccione della Faggiuola as captain and on 5 November of that year Uguccione invaded the Lucchese territories. On 13 December 1313, the Pisan army entered Lucca proper and massacred its citizens. On 14 June 1314, Uguccione's forces again entered Lucca and the chronicles speak of them setting fire to over one hundred houses and sacking the cathedral of San Frediano. (11) Subsequently, Faitinelli, a Black Guelph, was exiled for seventeen years; he was not allowed back into Lucca until 1331 (Vitale, Rimatori comico-realistici 650). He lived for a long period of time in the Veneto, perhaps even meeting the poet Nicolo de' Rossi (Marti, "Pietro dei Faitinelli" 164). In his political poetry, Pietro speaks openly about his anger at the Pisan Ghibellines and at Uguccione in particular ("Veder mi par gia quel da la Faggiuola/ re di Toscana: io dico d'Uguccione," vv. 1-2). He chastises the Guelphs for their weakness ("Poi rotti sete a scoglio presso a riva,/ guelfi [...]," vv. 1-2) and reproofs their prideful boasting ("Gia per minacce guerra non si venze," v. 1; "Voi gite molto arditi a far la mostra," v. 1). Hence, unlike Angiolieri, Faitinelli focuses on the events of the day in his lyric production and comments upon them.
Pietro also writes frankly about his experiences as an exile. Paolo Orvieto and Lucia Brestolini mention that the poeti giocosi frequently compose marginal and dejected poetic personae through the careful selection and exaggeration of particular biographical traits (127). Those scholars' general description about the group of comic writers appears appropriate for Faitinelli in particular. In one sonnet, he puns on the name of Uguccione's lieutenant, Castruccio, and utilizes it to comment on his own personal humiliation. He describes his disempowerment as if a literal emasculation and speaks of Castruccio as the one who castrated him: "Si mi castro, per ch'io non sia castrone,/ Castruccio, quando Lucca fu tradita,/ che de' miei lombi e la lussuria uscita/ e vivo in castita per sua cagione" (vv. 1-4). Another sonnet begins with two quatrains which express the sadness of living estranged from one's native city: "Onde mi dee venir giochi e sollazzi?/ onde mi dee venir motti con risa?/ onde, se non tormenti d'ogni guisa?/ onde mi dee venir, se non ch'io impazzi?" (vv. 1-4). In that poem, he portrays the psychological state of the banished as one of depression and anguish. He despairs, he writes, for he sees Lucca in the hands of the Pisans (vv. 7-8) and he describes the city in part in terms of a raped woman: "Veggiola ontata, nuda ed abitata,/ non da lo suo antico abitatore,/ ma da color che l'hanno si guidata" (vv. 9-11). (12) Like Cecco, Pietro creates self-portraits in his verse. More so than Angiolieri, however, Faitinelli appears to base them on actual personal sentiments, opinions and experiences.
In still another sonnet, Faitinelli envisions his return to Lucca and writes:
S'io veggio in Lucca bella mio ritorno, che fi' quando la pera fie ben mezza, in nullo cuore uman tant'allegrezza gia mai non fu, quant'io avro quel giorno. Le mura andro leccando d'ogni intorno e gli uomini, piangendo d'allegrezza; odio, rancore, guerra ed ogni empiezza porro giu contra quei che mi cacciorno. E qui me' voglio 'l bretto castagniccio, 'nanzi ch'altrove pan di gran calvello; 'nanzi ch'altrove pium qui il graticcio. Ch'i' ho provato si amaro morsello, e provo e provero, stando esiticcio, che 'l bianco e 'l ghibellin vo' per fratello.
Antonio Lanza points out the similarity between the incipit verse of Faitinelli's poem and the second line of Angiolieri's sonnet ("s'i' veggio 'l di sia 'n Siena ribandito") (66n2). Like Cecco (vv. 3-4), Faitinelli imagines his happiness on the day when he will be allowed back into Lucca (vv. 3-4) and he claims that he will make peace with his former enemies (vv. 7-8; v. 14). Faitinelli's reminiscences of Angiolieri seem to comprise another case of Cecco's influence on another jocose writer. Pietro's exile occurred after Uguccione's triumph over Lucca, which itself took place several years after Angiolieri's death. There is some reason to believe, therefore, that Faitinelli may have been familiar with Angiolieri's sonnet and may have recollected it for artistic reasons.
Faitinelli's lyric differs somewhat from Angiolieri's antecedent. Angiolieri's poem emphasizes the pain of being forced out of Siena; Pietro's, in contrast, stresses the joy of an eventual return. Faitinelli does not dedicate much attention in the poem to the depiction of life in exile. Instead, he positions his sonnet as dependent upon Angiolieri's description. He takes for granted that the readers are familiar with Cecco's portrait of the dreariness of living under banishment; the literary precedent provides the backdrop for Pietro's imagined happy return to Lucca. Faitinelli writes that such a day will be long overdue in coming (v. 2); he employs the metaphor of an overripe pear to underscore the length of time spent outside of his city. He then asserts that no other human heart will have felt such felicity (vv. 3-4) and exemplifies the emotion by describing his actions on that day: he will lick the walls of Lucca (v. 5) and other men will weep for joy (v. 6). The poet stresses the happiness of his return by twice placing the word "allegrezza" in the rhyming position at the end of a verse (vv. 3, 6). Faitinelli closes the second quatrain by stating that he will set aside all rancor, hostility and bitterness against those who have had him banished (vv. 7-8). The opening octave establishes a jubilant tone, one which is projected out onto a hypothetical future and which contrasts in an understated manner with the pain of the present situation.
In the tercets, Pietro explicitly spells out the opposition between life in Lucca and that in banishment. He says that he would rather eat the coarse bread of the humble in his native town than to have highly refined bread elsewhere (vv. 9-10). It is possible that Pietro's reference to the distinction between the bread of Tuscany and that of other parts of Italy is an oblique reminscence of Dante's description of exile in Paradiso: "Tu proverai si come sa di sale/ lo pane altrui" (17: 58-59). Pietro then reiterates the preference for Lucca in the following line when he writes that he would rather sleep on a hard bed in that city than on a fine feather mattress elsewhere (v. 11). In the final tercet, he explains the reason for the opinions expressed in the previous three lines and, in so doing, he underscores the two structures of the sonnet. He says that he wishes to return to Lucca for he has suffered so much by being banished (vv. 12-13). He compares his torment to eating a bitter morsel (v. 12), drawing the readers' attention to a network of food imagery running throughout the lyric. In the last line, he mentions that he will be the brother of Ghibellines and White Guelphs (v. 14). The closing verse, with its promise of an end to the political infighting and interpersonal hatreds, recalls the earlier statement that he will renounce rancor against those who banished him (vv. 7-8). Thus, Pietro completes a second thread running through the sonnet, that of eventually pardoning his enemies. By introducing these two structures, Pietro provides internal consistency to the lyric. Faitinelli focuses on the desire to return home in this sonnet, leaving the torment of banishment as subtext. Faitinelli's poem, however, will not be the last word on the subject.
The Florentine poet Pieraccio Tedaldi (b. ca. 1285-1290; d. ca. 1350) composes some forty-two sonnets during his lifetime. His poetry deals with various topics, including misogyny, (13) the complaint against poverty, (14) the promotion of morality, (15) and contemptus mundi. (16) He also writes of personal matters in several poems. For example, in two sonnets he speaks, apparently as an old man, about the loss of eyesight. In "Se parte del veder i' ho mancato" he explains his visual problems as being the result of his sinfulness: "deh come mi sta ben, in veritade,/ per che con gli occhi molta vanitade,/ con ciascun d'essi, lasso! ho gia mirato" (vv. 2-4). In another, he turns to Saint Lucy for assistance: "Santa Lucia, per tua verginitate/ i' priego che per me pregh'Iddio / che lui mi sani ciascun occhio mio,/ dov'i' ho tant'amara scuritate" (vv. 1-4). In one other sonnet, he directs his attention to another apparently personal issue:
S'io veggio il do, che io disio e spero, di ritornare a star dentro a Firenza, e che io facci la mia risidenza, avro salute al mio voler sincero. E se di cio adempio il mio pensiero, per la virtu di Dio che n'ha potenza, e cio confermo e dico daddivero, e non credo far di la mai dispartenza. Questo egli e, che i' sono oggimai sazio del tanto dimorare qui in Romagna, che a considerallo e uno strazio. Vorrei partir omai d'esta campagna e ritornar nel dilettoso spazio de la nobil citta gioiosa e magna.
As with Angiolieri, the cause of Tedaldi's banishment is not known. The manuscript containing the sonnet, Vaticano Latino 3213 (unicus), presents a rubric which reads: "Del detto [Tedaldi], sendo stato anni 25 fuori di Firenza, e avendo grande desiderio di ritornare [...]."(17) To what extent the rubric can be trusted is not certain; if it is accurate, then it establishes the basis for reading the sonnet biographically at least in part.
The manuscript rubric not only allows readers to interpret Tedaldi's sonnet in light of historical factors but also gives an indication of its relationship to the previously studied works. Pieraccio's incipit verse, "S'io veggio il di, che io disio e spero," recalls that of Faitinelli ("S'io veggio in Lucca bella mio ritorno") as well as, even more strongly, the second line of Angiolieri's poem ("s'i' veggio 'l di sia 'n Siena ribandito"). In other words, by opening the sonnet in that manner, Pieraccio seems to position himself as receiving the example set by Angiolieri and, quite possibly, negotiating it with the influence of Faitinelli. (18) Given that Tedaldi was probably born in the last two decades of the Trecento, his sonnet certainly came after that by Angiolieri. If Pieraccio wrote his sonnet after twenty-five years of exile, as Vaticano Latino 3213 states, then the date of composition occurred most likely after the seventeen years of Faitinelli's banishment (1314-1331); this conclusion, however, is not certain. Tedaldi seems to constitute the third link in a chain, metaphorically speaking, which began with Angiolieri around the year of 1304.
Like both Faitinelli and Angiolieri, Tedaldi emphasizes his self-depiction in the sonnet. He neither stresses his abject condition like Cecco, nor envisions a joyful return to his native land like Pietro; instead, he crafts a psychological poem which highlights his hopes and wants as a banished individual. He studs the two quatrains with terminology suggestive of the psyche of the poetic persona: "disio e spero" (v. 1), "voler" (v. 4), "pensiero," (v. 5), "non credo" (v. 8). Tedaldi begins structuring the sonnet around the wishes of the narrating voice in the incipit verse. He writes in the first quatrain that if he resides once again in Florence, his sincere desire will be fulfilled (vv. 1-4). He states that his will, at that time, will be healthy ("avro salute al mio voler sincero," v. 4), implying that his unsatisfied yearnings have left him unbalanced in some way. Pieraccio's understated implication of mental anguish recollects Angiolieri's more thorough examination of the psychology of the exiled. Perhaps the poet relies on the reader's recognition of the intertextualities with the other poet to fill in the informational gaps in the sonnet and understand already Pieraccio's tragic conditions.
In the second quatrain, Pieraccio continues speaking psychologically by stating that he fills his thoughts with God's virtue and power (vv. 5-6). He says truthfully that he does not believe his mind deviates from the contemplation of the Lord (vv. 7-8). He does not clarify whether he hopes that Christ will lift his banishment or if, rather, his torment has made him a better Christian. Owing to the other references to his psyche in these verses, I am inclined to believe the latter, although the former interpretation is not out of the question. Giuseppe Mazzotta characterizes Dante's conception of exile as linked to a poetic act which transmits the Truth to the people (138). In some respects--although, to be sure, in a far less systematic manner than in the Commedia--Pieraccio's verse corresponds to Mazzotta's suggestion. In Tedaldi's poem, too, exile may cause a spiritual conversion in the poet that is subsequently communicated to the reading community. In this respect, Tedaldi seems to echo another work by Dante in which the great poet speaks of banishment. In the canzone "Tre donne intorno al cor mi son venute," Alighieri first explains that his suffering has caused him to feel as if he had been burned in a flame: "Ma questo foco m'have / gia consumato si l'ossa e la polpa,/ che Morte al petto m'ha posto la chiave" (vv. 85-88).Immediately thereafter, however, Dante spells out that whatever blame he may have had in causing his exile has been washed away through contrition: "Onde, s'io ebbi colpa,/ piu lune ha volto il sol poi che fu spenta,/ se colpa muore perche l'uom si penta" (vv. 89-90). Tedaldi's poem can be read as taking Dante's assertions one step further. Not only has the sin of the exiled individual been cleansed, as Dante asserts in the canzone, but the process of seeking forgiveness has brought Pieraccio closer to God than formerly. Tedaldi's sonnet is almost a corrective to Cecco's. Moreover, while in the latter the exiled are viewed as sinful and deserving of their torment, in the former, the punishment can affect a renewed faith in God.
In the first tercet, Pieraccio explains that he has had his fill with living in Romagna to such an extent that even considering it is a torture (vv. 9-11). The verb "considerallo" (v. 11) links the first tercet with the network of psychological terminology in the opening octave. The mere thought of banishment is excruciating ("strazio," v. 11), and the punishment of exile represents the only overt statement in the sonnet of his dismay about his current situation. Pieraccio constructs the sextet, however, around a second structure: the contrast between here (banishment in Romagna) and there (Florence). The poet had foregrounded the structural polarity in the opening octave by referring to the city of Florence (v. 2) and by using words like "ritornare" (v. 2) and "la" (v. 3). But the focus on the distinction between exile and Tedaldi's native city is accentuated in the tercets as he expresses his desire to return home (vv. 12-14). Romagna itself, not just banishment, is presented in a distinctly negative light. He mentions that he is "sated" with his residence there ("sazio," v. 9) and depicts that region as a rustic countryside ("campagna," v. 12). Conversely, he states that he wishes to return to Florence (v. 13), calling it a delightful space ("dilettoso spazio," v. 11) and a noble, joyful and great city ("nobil citta gioiosa e magna," v. 14). In these verses, the poet does more than simply contrast two geographical regions. Rather, he taps into the medieval cultural dualism between the urban and the rural: the former was generally viewed positively while the latter was thought of negatively (Cadden 2). Through his lexical choices, Pieraccio clearly associates the positive valences of urbanitas with Florence and the negative connotations of rusticitas with the Romagna. Thus, the internal structure of here/there is joined to a greater cultural perspective. By doing so, Pieraccio gives depth to his expressions of hatred for his status as an exile and highlights his wishes to be allowed back in his native land.
In conclusion, Cecco Angiolieri, Pietro de' Faitinelli, and Pieraccio Tedaldi all apparently found themselves forced to reside involuntarily outside their home cities. For Faitinelli, documentation attests to the fact that he was actually banished from Lucca because of the internecine warfare; for Angiolieri and Tedaldi, both the evidence internal to their poetic productions and the manuscript marginalia suggest estrangement from Siena and Florence, respectively. To varying degrees, all three of the sonnets examined illustrate the personal impact of exile. Yet we should avoid reading the poetry as merely the simple "primitive" expressions of the private pain of those three individuals. Rather, they all craft the sonnets in line with literary precedents and artistic exigencies. Angiolieri, in keeping with his artistic modus operandi, crafts a self- denigrating poetic persona in his depiction of life away from Siena as a hell on earth. Possibly building upon Angiolieri's characterization of banishment, Faitinelli emphasizes the happiness he will feel upon his eventual return to Lucca. He uses food imagery to contrast with the "bitter morsel" of exile he has been forced to ingest. Tedaldi, in contrast, utilizes the intertextuality with Angiolieri and possibly also with Faitinelli to speak of his own personal spiritual transformation. He too constructs a poetic persona and imbues it with the psychology of the outcast. The examples of Faitinelli and Tedaldi underscore further the influence that Angiolieri had on subsequent writers of poesia giocosa. The sonnets of all three authors, however, also assist in dispelling a long-held opinion about the comic poets of the Due and Trecento. Scholars of the early twentieth century frequently labeled those writers as "burlesque" and explained their poetry as the writings of bizarre individuals. (20) By foregrounding the figure of the irascible poet in the interpretation of the poetry, scholarship seemed to suggest that the lyrics lacked substance. In other words, a critical tendency developed of interpreting their lyrics as devoid of any significant meaning. The three sonnets studied above, however, to a great degree give the lie to the impression created by the earlier criticism. Far from being merely the utterances of scoundrels, the three poems demonstrate the engagement of the respective writers in the events of their society at large. They illustrate that Cecco Angiolieri, Pietro de' Faitinelli, and Pieraccio Tedaldi, while still writing in the style of comic literature, composed verses about circumstances of personal and social relevance.
The University of Arizona, Tucson
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(1) I would like to acknowledge the receipt of a Small Grant from the University of Arizona Foundation and from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Arizona in 1998 that made it possible for me to study on site the Siena H X 47 manuscript. I would like to thank the staff of the Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati of Siena for its assistance.
(2) Vitale (Rimatori comico-realistici 18-26); Marti (I poeti giocosi 12-19). See also Vitale (Lingua dei poeti realistico-giocosi 14-23).
(3) For instance, Marti notes the similarity between verses 10 and 11 of Nuccoli's "El mi rincresce si lo star di fuore," which read "el ciamprolino e 'l dado/ e la taverna," with Angiolieri's statement "la donna, la taverna, e 'l dado" ("Tre cose solamente mi so' in grado" v. 2). He also notes the resemblance of verse 6 of Nuccoli's "Ogni pensier, ch'i' ho 'n te, se dispera," "Or va, che tu sie ucciso!," to that of v. 14 in Angiolieri's "Babb'e Becchin, amor e mia madre" (Marti, I poeti giocosi 695; 705). Annali d'Italianistica 20 (2002)
(4) See, for instance, Rustico's poems "A voi, che ve ne andaste per paura" and "Fastel, messer, fastidio de la cazza," and Folgore's "Guelfi, per fare scudo de le reni," "Cosi faceste voi o guerra o pace," and "Piu lichisati siete ch'ermellini."
(5) Cecco Angiolieri is cited from Lanza's edition of Le rime. Pietro de' Faitinelli and Pieraccio Tedaldi are cited from Maurizio Vitale's Rimatori comico-realistici.
(6) See, for instance, Hugh Primas's poem "Dives eram et delictus," about which Charles Witke states: "There is symbolic value to the poet who stands outside the church starving and who cries for the expulsion of injustice and weeps for the remembrance of past kindness" (Latin Satire 231-32).
(7) The annotation of Siena H X 47 is transcribed diplomatically and in full here. The only intervention is that of expanding contractions, and that material appears within parentheses.
(8) See, for instance, Dante's Epistle to Cangrande where he reads the story of Exodus as both the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery and as the redemption of humankind from sin to salvation by Christ's crucifixion: "[...] si ad allegoriam, nobis significatur nostra redemptio facta per Christum; si ad moralem sensum, significatur nobis conversio anime de luctu et miseria peccati ad statum gratie [...] " (Epistole 13: 21).
(9) For more in-depth discussions of Angiolieri's poetic persona, see Alfie (165-92) and Barrett (48-59).
(10) The Commedia is cited in conformity with Petrocchi's edition.
(11) Information about Uguccione della Faggiuola's war against Lucca is culled from Cappuccio (80-81).
(12) The language of the latter verses, it should be noted, seem to echo distantly the passage from the Book of Lamentations cited by Dante to suggest Beatrice's death: "Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! facta est quasi vidua domina gentium" (28: 1). The Vita nuova is cited from De Robertis's edition.
(13) For example, see the sonnets "S'io veggo il di che io mai mi dispigli," "El maladetto di ch'io pensai," and "Qualunque m'arrecassi la novella."
(14) For example, see the sonnets "Tal si solea per me levare in piede," "E' piccoli fiorin d'argento e d'oro," "O me, che io mi sento si smarrito," and "I' truovo molti amici di starnuto."
(15) See, for example, the sonnets "S'io veggo il di ch'i' vinca me medesimo," "Corretto son del tutto e gastigato," and "Io vo in me gramo spesso ripetendo."
(16) See, for example, the sonnets "O uom che vivi assai in questo mondo," "Amico, il mondo e oggi a tal venuto," and "Io non trovo omo che viva contento."
(17) The rubric and information about Vaticano Latino 3213 are cited from Morpurgo (74).
(18) It should be noted that Pieraccio uses the formula "S'i vegg(i)o il di" in other poems as well (see the incipit verses listed in notes 13 and 15). I find it interesting that in the other sonnets, Tedaldi uses a different form of vedere ("veggo") than in the sonnet about exile. While I would not want to read too much into such a minor linguistic variation, I wonder if the option to use "veggio" in the sonnet about banishment were a further indication of the intertextuality with Angiolieri and/or Faitinelli.
(19) Dante's canzone is cited from Cudini's edition of the rime.
(20) For characteristic readings of jocose poetry as evidence of the pathological nature of the poets, see the following: Sapegno 380; Russo, "La critica moderna" 205; Rho 499-500; and Russo, "Cecco Fortarrighi" (319).
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|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2002|
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