“Souffrir non souffrir” [Suffer not Suffer] is the enigmatic, antithetical motto with which Maurice Scève both opens and closes his

Délie, object de plus haulte vertu

(1544), the volume of lyrical verse upon which his literary fame is founded. Claiming the widely-held distinction as the first poet to produce a Petrarchan


in the French tradition, Scève employs this evocative, paradoxical insignia to illustrate the bipolar tension experienced by the desiring poetic subject and, in so doing, follows the lead of the superlative Tuscan sonneteer, whose unrequited love for Laura was cultivated in verse to similar contradictory effects. Like Petrarch, Scève also locates the origin of his

doulce souffrance

(sweet suffering) in a scene of


(the loaded Italian term…

2756 words

Citation: Hudson, Robert J.. "Maurice Scève". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 October 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=12445, accessed 03 March 2024.]

12445 Maurice Scève 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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