William Fowler, Tarantula of Love

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Most probably composed between 1584 and 1587, William Fowler’s

Tarantula of Love

is one of the earliest manifestations of Petrarchism in Scottish literature. The first Scottish sonnet sequence, and an early example of the form, the


engages with the themes of Petrarch’s


in a loose narrative that turns on the speaker’s love for the impervious Bellisa. Surviving in two autograph manuscripts, the Drummond MS (EUL, De.3.68) and the Hawthornden MSS (NLS MSS 2063-2067), the

Tarantula of Love

forms part of an extensive corpus of Fowler’s personal manuscripts, offering a rare insight into the literary culture of the Scottish court (Verweij 2016).

Evidence suggests that the Tarantula was composed prior to Fowler’s translations of The Trivmphs of Petrarke, completed in

1210 words

Citation: Elliott, Elizabeth. "Tarantula of Love". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 March 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35695, accessed 12 June 2024.]

35695 Tarantula of Love 3 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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