Humanities and Arts

Figuring Vittoria Colonna’s Desirous Widow in Francisco de Aldana’s ‘Pues cabe tanto en vos del bien del cielo’

  • 0

© attribution CC-BY

copyright icon





The sonnet ‘Pues cabe tanto en vos del bien del cielo’ by SpanishNeapolitan poet Francisco de Aldana (1537-78) challenges interpretation through its genre-defying mix of consolatory, philosophic, and amatory elements; in particular, its inclusion of an enigmatic statement by a ventriloquized female figure alien to contemporary Hispanic courtly poetry. In this study, I offer an interpretation through a comparative study with the Rime amorose (1538) of Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547), in which she popularized the Petrarchan voice of the desiring widow in Italian poetry. After establishing a link between the Aldana and Colonna families by virtue of the fragment ‘Aunque a la alta región del alegría’, which addresses the death of Colonna’s niece, I explain how the yearning contained within Colonna’s lyric, noted to possess an erotic potential, may have led Aldana to incorporate this voice in his own poetic exploration of a combinatory spiritual and physical philosophy of love. Additionally, given the absence of the Colonnaesque tradition in Spain, I consider how expressions of desire by female voices in the arte menor and pastoral traditions potentially could have led to a similar interpretation for Hispanic readers.