Reading Philippe Desportes in Le Rencontre des muses de France et d'Italie



This essay focuses on Le Rencontre des muses de France et d’Italie, a text that is rarely discussed yet is crucially important in the reading and interpretation of Philippe Desportes. Through a close textual analysis of the editor's preface, and of four paired sonnets from Le Rencontre, this study shows Desportes’ poetic skills and contributions to early modern poetry, and also how he differentiated himself from his Italian sources. It argues that this volume, possibly compiled with the intention to denounce Desportes’ many Italianisms, in fact, turned out to herald his work and further his career, just as other anthologies had done for many sixteenth-century Italian poets. Thus, this analysis enables the reader to reflect on Desportes’ imitative style and his vibrant approach to intertextuality, as well as on the importance of Le Rencontre as a significant moment in the poetry of both France and Italy.