‘Great Love and Long Study’: Dante, Petrarch, and Monna Innominata
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Monna Innominata is a sonnet sequence consisting of 14 sonnets, each one preceded by a double epigraph from Dante and Petrarch. Its daunting length has meant that individual sonnets have often garnered more critical attention than the sequence as a whole.1 Rossetti herself would have resisted this practice. Refusing an American editor permission to excerpt Monna Innominata, she explained: ‘Such compound work has a connection (very often) which is of interest to the author and which an editor gains nothing by discarding’.2 In the interest of reading in the spirit of Rossetti, this chapter addresses the sonnet sequence in its entirety. Although I do not, for reasons of space, include the whole text of Monna Innominata, it can be found on pages 86–93 in Volume 2 of the Crump edition.
KeywordsFemale Speaker Emphasis Mine Divine Love Human Love Divine Comedy
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