Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dolce Stil Novo



Dolce Stil Novo or stilnovismo, is the name given to the most important literary movement of the 13th century in Italy. Influenced by both Sicilian and Tuscan poetry, its main theme is Love. And Amore are indeed topoi in the major works of the period. The name Dolce Stil Novo was used for the first time by Dante Alighieri, in fact when he arrives in the Purgatory he met Bonagiunta Orbicciani, a 13th-century Italian poet, who tells Dante that Dante himself, Guinizzelli and Cavalcanti had been able to create a new genre: a stil novo. 

Precursors to the dolce stil novo are found in the Proven├žal works of the troubadours, such as the Genoese Lanfranc Cigala. The artists of the stil novo are called stilnovisti. Compared to its precursors, the poetry we find in the Dolce Stil Novo is superior in quality and more intellectual: a more refined poetry with regular use of metaphors and symbolism, as well as subtle double meanings. The adoration of the female beauty is explicitly portrayed by the Dolce Stil Novo poet, who frequently delves into deep introspection. In fact it has been argued by many literary critics that introspection in Italian literary works was first introduced by the Stil Novo poets, and later developed by Francesco Petrarca. Poetry from this school is also full of vivid descriptions of female beauty, frequently comparing the desired woman to a creature from paradise. The woman is described as an 'angel' or as 'a bridge to God'. Rather than being material in nature, the 'Love' of the Dolce Stil Novo is a sort of 'Divine Love'.

The two main concepts are thus brought together as the poet enters his interior world to express his most inner feelings which are caused by an excessively divine female beauty. The first expression of this style of writing is credited to Guido Guinizzelli and his poem Al cor gentil rempaira sempre amore, whereas the major exponent of this school of poetry was Dante Alighieri, who is most famous for his Divina Commedia. The importance of the Dolce Stil Novo lies in the fact that apart from being the manifestation of the first true literary tradition in Italy, it ennobled the Tuscan vernacular, which was soon destined to become the Italian national language. The Stilnovisti influenced the later Catalan poet Melchior de Gualbes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brown-headed Cowbird


Brown-headed Cowbird male (right) courting female

They occur in open or semi-open country and often travel in flocks, sometimes mixed with Red-winged Blackbirds (particularly in spring) and Bobolinks (particularly in fall), as well as Common Grackle or European Starlings. These birds forage on the ground, often following grazing animals such as horses and cows to catch insects stirred up by the larger animals. They mainly eat seeds and insects.

Before European settlement, the Brown-headed Cowbird followed bison herds across the prairies. Their parasitic nesting behaviour complemented this nomadic lifestyle. Their numbers expanded with the clearing of forested areas and the introduction of new grazing animals by settlers across North America. Brown-headed Cowbirds are now commonly seen at suburban birdfeeders.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a large wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North and Central America as well as the West Indies and the Galápagos Islands. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores and England. An all-white population found only in the Caribbean and southern Florida was once known as a separate species, the Great White Heron.