Joseph Brodsky and Mary Stuart: A Souls' Encounter – and more – in the Luxembourg Gardens

 

Copertina Panicieri

 

Abstract

Joseph Brodsky wrote the cycle of sonnets «Twenty Sonnets to Mary Queen of Scots» in 1974, two years after his expulsion from the Soviet Union – a circumstance which brought him ideally close to the famous Queen of Scots, who was forced to leave her native country and suffered unfair persecution. An affinity further enhanced by their biography, since they both spent their lives «in-between» countries and languages, a condition reflected in the form of the poem, which combines French, Italian and English types of sonnets and includes words from different languages.

Recounting an unpredicted meeting with the statue of Mary Stuart in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, «Twenty Sonnets to Mary Queen of Scots» is a long love poem, which collects Brodsky’s thoughts on man’s destiny and its relation to history.

As for Pushkin – whose poem «I loved you» is the canvas for Brodsky’s sonnet – more than the love for the woman, the love recounted in the poem coincides with the love for the medium, i.e., the language. As Brodsky loved to affirm: «Whether we like it or not, we are here to learn not just what time does to man but what language does to time».

 

Keywords

Literary Studies; Poetry and Poets; Bilingualism and Multilingualism; Joseph Brodsky, Mary Stuart

 

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