Date of Award

Spring 1974

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




The works of Petrarch, Donne, and Cervantes have in common a considerable emphasis on stock love situations. These stock situations include such occurrences as the meeting of lovers, the reaction of the lover to the disdain of his lady, the burning desire of the lover to be physically present with his lady, and the parting of lovers. A certain twist in a situation, originally used by Petrarch, in the poetry of Donne or prose of Cervantes, can provide an excellent insight into the ideas concerning love of all three authors. Petrarch espoused a rather narrow love philosophy. In the great majority of his sonnets Petrarch affirms chaste, platonic, unrequited love. In contrast, John Donne takes a quite practical outlook on love, at times approaching the borders of chauvinism. Diversity is the key to much of the appeal of Donne's love poetry, but much piore interesting is the tendencyof the male figure to counter the disdain of the female. In Petrarch the male is passive and at times even receptive to the harsh treatment by his lady, but Donne's masculine personna is capable of ignoring or even retaliating against this feminine hateur. Cervantes also managss to undermine the Fetrarchan value of platonic, unrequited love, but his major implement of parody is somewhat different from the insolent rake of his English contemporary. The ingenious Spanish author employs a deranged, aging knight to manifest his ridicule for the love conventions. Don Quixote, indeed, worships Dulcinea, but the absurd extent of this idolization, and the predicaments in which it places him, are sound indicators of Cervantes' refutation of spiritual, non-rewarding love.