Occitan Lyric in Italy

Although Occitan is a different language and presents a literary tradition that is distinct from French, it is often considered along with French as an important discursive element for the development of writing in late medieval Italy. Occitan lyric played an important role in Italian literary culture, first as a literary product imported from Southern France in the years before the late twelfth century, and then afterwards as a form that writers who lived and worked in Italy adopted and employed for their own aesthetic or political purposes. Occitan lyric enjoyed its greatest flowering in Italy from the late twelfth through the late thirteenth centuries, and works of this genre were copied and created in Italy by poets of both Southern French and Italian origin. Occitan lyric was popular in the courts of Northern Italian nobles, but also in urban settings, including Genoa and Bologna. Of the twenty-seven extant chansonniers, or poetry books, which contain Occitan lyric, at least sixteen can be securely designated as Italian in origin, a fact which speaks to the importance of the Italian context in understanding this literary corpus and to the ultimate effects of Occitan lyric on poetics in Italy, particularly in the case ofSicilian school and stilnovisti poets.

There are multiple web-resources concerning Occitan lyric, so this site will not attempt to duplicate those efforts. Instead, the site will focus on the ways in which Occitan lyric functioned on Italian soil. Below is a list of authors who were active in Italy writing Occitan lyric from the late twelfth to late thirteeth centuries, including a short synopsis of the life of each author and the significance of his work in Italy.

Authors in Italy Who Wrote Occitan Lyric

Piere Vidal (at the Court of Boniface de Montferrat and in Genoa, c. 1194)

Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (Court poet of Boniface de Montferrat, end of 12th century)

Aimeric de Peguilhan (Court poet of Guillaume de Montferrat, the Malaspina in Lunigiana, and the Este in Padua, c. 1175 – c. 1221)

Uc de Saint Circ (at the courts of the da Romano and Malaspina families, c. 1217 – c. 1253)

Peire de la Caravana (Italian-born Guelph poet writing in Occitan, late 12th century)

Rambertino Buvalelli (Bolognese politician and poet writing in Occitan, early 13th century)

Lanfranc Cigala (Genoese politician and poet writing in Occitan, early 13th century)

Bonifacio Calvo (Genoese poet writing in Occitan at the court of Alfonso X, late 13th century)

Bertolome Zorzi (Venetian merchant and poet writing in Occitan, late 13th century)

Sordello da Goito (Lombard poet at the courts of Raimond Berenger V and Charles of Anjou)


Background Bibliography

Miriam Cabré, “Italian and Catalan troubadours,” in The Troubadours: an introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, 113-140.

G. Folena, “Tradizione e cultura trobadorica nelle corti e nelle citta veneta,in  Culture e lingue nel Veneto medievale.  Padua: Editoriale Programma, 1990, 1-137.

Olivia Holmes. Assembling the lyric self: authorship from Troubadour Song to Italian Poetry Book.Minneapolis: Universtiy of Minnesota Press, 2000.

M. L. Meneghetti. Il pubblico dei trovatori. La ricezione della lirica cortese fino al XIV secolo. Turin: Einaudi, 1992.

Ibid., “La Nascita delle Letterature Romanze,” in Storia della letteratura italiana. Edited by E. Malato, volume 1, Dalle origini a Dante.  Rome: Salerno Editrice, 1995, 175-229.


Web Resources for Occitan Lyrics

Bibliografia Elettronica dei Trovatori

Troubadour and Early Occitan Literature