by Joel B. Davis heEnglishpoetSirThomasWyatt(ca.150342)andhiscontemporary,theCastilianpoetGarcilasodelavega(1501?36),shared somuchincommonandplayedsuchimportantrolesinthedevelopmentofpoetryintheirrespectivelanguagesthatthelackofcomparativestudiesoftheirpoetryissurprising.Inthearticlethatfollows, Icompareafewpoemsofsimilarthemesanddatesfromeachwriterto suggestthatWyatt'spoetryismorethoroughlyPetrarchan--andmore successfully so--than has been generally recognized. Placing Wyatt's poetryinthecontextofCharlesv'scourtandalongsidethepoetryof GarcilasorevealsthatWyatt'spoemsappropriatePetrarchanstrategies in a struggle to establish a unified lyric voice and to resist what we mightlooselycalldiscursivecolonization:forwhiletheflexible,indeed almost protean qualities of Petrarchism invited poets like Wyatt and Garcilaso to experiment in their native languages, the same qualities madePetrarchismanaptvehicleforimaginingtheimperialambitions ofCharlesv.ComparingWyatt'spoetrytothatofGarcilasodelavega reveals that a discursive resistance to the imperialism of Charles v's courtisinflectedbythedifferencebetweenthetwopoets'relationships to that court--with significant consequences for the development of PetrarchanpoetryintheEnglishandCastilianvernaculars. BothWyattandGarcilasoflourishedinthesixteenth-centuryrevival of Petrarchism, each is credited with introducing Italian Renaissance innovationsintohisownvernacularliterature,andweknowthatthe 493 ©2010TheUniversityofNorthCarolinaPress Engaging Empire in Wyatt and Garcilaso twosharedcommoninfluencesinPetrarch,LuigiAlamanni,Baldesare Castiglione,PietroBembo,andothers.Bothmenwereembroiledinthe struggle for supremacy over the Mediterranean basin fought among Charlesv,FrancisI,andtheOttomanEmperorSuleimanII.Garcilaso hadservedCharlesvagainsttheforcesofSuleimanIIatthesiegeof viennain1529;hewaswoundedinCharlesv'sretakingofTunisfrom OttomanforcesunderthecommandofKhairadDin,thefearedBarbarossa,in1535;andhediedOctober14,1536fromaheadwoundsufferedatLeMuy,whilefightingtheforcesofFrancisI.Wyatthadbeena memberofHenryvIII'sembassytoFrancetodiscussaleagueagainst Charles v in 1526; he was part of another embassy to Pope ClementvIIin1527,justbeforeCharlesv'ssoldierssackedRome;hewas HenryvIII'sambassadortotheimperialcourtfromjune1537through june 1539 and again from December 1539 through May 1540; and he diedofexhaustionandaconsequentillnessastheresultofahardride fromLondontoFalmouthtomeetCharlesv'semissarytoEnglandon October11,1542. Garcilaso and Wyatt share in common more than hard service to demanding monarchs. Each man's life and career depended on the constant negotiations, alliances, betrayals, and battles through which Charlesv,FrancisI,andSuleimanIIstruggledtocontrolthewestern Mediterranean. Garcilaso found himself at various times early in his careeronbothsidesofCharlesv'sstruggletobringSpainunderHapsburg rule, especially during the revolt of the comuneros in 1521.1 The emperor's need to control his
Studies in Philology – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Oct 16, 2010
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