Наслеђе 54 (2023), стр. 269-283

АУТОР(И): Tomislav M. Pavlović


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DOI: 10.46793/NasKg2354.269P


The aim of the research is to carry out the analysis of the echoes of one of the most famous love ballads composed by the Italian medieval poet Guido Cavalcanti in Thomas Stearns Eliot’s conversion poem Ash Wednesday. Eliot’s reception of Cavalcanti’s poetry is somewhat par- adoxical, since in one of his critical essays the Italian poet is labelled as a “pagan” and Ash Wednesday represents Eliot’s first greater work of high religiosity. Cavalcanti’s poetry was known for not playing as significant a role in the formation of Eliot’s poetic expression as Dante Alighieri’s. On the other hand, claiming that he did not exert any influence on the English author’s work would be wrong. The analysis starts from Eliot’s use of the initial line of Cavalcanti’s ballatetta as    a leitmotif concentrating  subsequently  on  the  corresponding  topics in the works of both authors and the way they are treated. Those are  the ones of exile, transience of life, adoration of the Lady, the prob- lem of obstacles preventing hero to reach the ideal and the theme of spiritual fulfilment. The research lays emphasis on the fact that Eliot’s Ash Wednesday is modelled upon the essentially mythical pattern of quest set by Cavalcanti in his ballatetta and proves that Eliot’s poem   is a unique attempt to make the poetic tradition of former centuries eternally alive.


Cavalcanti, Eliot, ballatetta, Middle Ages, love, religion, convention, Lady, exile


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