Occitan poetry  980-2008

by Joan-Frederic Brun


Robert Ruffi 


Historian, humanist and poet, he was born in Marseilles, and there he lived when this city became an independent republic, proudly celebrating its Provençal identity and culture, and printing wonderful books in Occitan language. "Las contradiccions d'Amor" ("The Contradictions of Love") is a collection of fourteen sonnets that are part of a larger project aiming at discussing the central issues of literature during the Renaissance. They develop a theory of Love: is it a god? is it a bird? Is it hosted in the heart? Is it engendered by vision? All that is funnily and nicely written, in a pleasant and familiar Provençal language. 

This book has been recently edited by the provençal poet and scholar JY Casanova. 

Medieval poetry: the kingdom of love
XVI-XVIII century: tasty baroque antiliteratures
XIX th century: toward a renaissance
XIX th century (1854-1914):  spreading and sclerosis of the Provençal miracle
XX th century (1920-1965): the anguish of no future
XX th century (1965-1981): "un país que vòl viure" (a country that just wants to live)
XX th century (1981-2000): postoccitanisme
XXI th century: just a living literature among many other ones? 


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Amor es dins lo còr coma un aucèu en gàbia,
Fa sautar l’esperit d’una estrangi furor,
Es un vent de sospirs, de tragica dolor,
Un gròs cafi de plors, una cauva d’enràbia.

Das redoblats sanglots ne'n fa usura e ràbia,
Fa devenir l’amant ambé pàllei colors,
Dins lo còr engabiat s’es freg dona calor,
Amor rostís lo còr e fa lo cervèu babi,

D’idèas li metent e pron de faus semblants,
Esberlugant lo sens de tot pauret amant,
En Amor ben sovent en querèlas si paisse,

De fúria e de foliá garnís l’entendement
E sovent fa fonhar per mai d’encanhament,
Amor per un plaser mila dolors fa nàisser.






Love's in the heart, like a bird in a cage.  It makes spirit  leap with a strange fury , he's a wind of sighs and tragic pain, a large vase of  mourning, a cause that makes you enrage. 

He makes with redoubled tears overuse and fear, gives pale colors to the lover,  in the imprisoned heart, if there's cold,  it gives heat, Love roasts the heart and makes the brain idiot,

puting in it ideas and most pretence, disturbing the meaning of any poor lover, since in Love, most often, one gets fed with quarrels, 

it fills conscience with fury and madness, and often is angry for more obstinacy,  Love for a single pleasure gives birth to thousands of pains.



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