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 Tarantula engages with the themes of Petrarch’s Canzoniere 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).
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 06 June 2023.]