Sonnets for Helen Additional Summary

Pierre de Ronsard


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Bishop, Morris. Ronsard: Prince of Poets. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959. A general biography of Ronsard. Chapter 12, “Hélène,” gives a detailed description of Hélène de Surgères, the circumstances in which Ronsard met her, and the surrounding atmosphere of court intrigue. Includes limited references to the sonnets.

Cave, Terence, ed. Ronsard the Poet. London: Methuen, 1973. Contains eight essays by various authors presenting a largely thematic approach to Ronsard’s work. In chapter 2, Grahame Castor discusses Petrarchism and the quest for beauty in the Sonnets pour Hélène; chapter 7, by Odette de Mourgues, on Ronsard’s later poetry, contains references to Hélène. The index lists references in other essays.

Fallon, Jean M. Voice and Vision in Ronsard’s “Les Sonnets pour Helene.” New York: Peter Lang, 1993. Examines the 1584 edition of the sonnets, the last edition published in Ronsard’s lifetime. Analyzes the work as a text about poetry rather than about love, describing its duality between the voices of the lover and the poet. Points out other unifying elements in the work as a whole

Jones, K. R. W. Pierre de Ronsard. New York: Twayne, 1970. This standard introductory overview to Ronsard’s life and work discusses Hélène chiefly in chapter 9, “Ronsard’s Private World.”

Lewis, D. B. Wyndham. Ronsard. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1944. Chapter 9, “Hélène,” begins with a description of Hélène as Ronsard saw her. A subsequent analysis takes a thematic approach and quotes extensively from the sonnets.

Lewis, John. “Helen on Lesbos: A Sapphic Echo in Ronsard’s Sonnets Pour Helene?” French Studies 48, no. 1 (January, 1994): 4. Discusses Ronsard’s interest in the Greek poet Sappho and points out similarities between Sappho’s poetry and Ronsard’s Sonnets for Helen. Describes how fragments of Sappho’s poetry are adapted to Ronsard’s images and how the work of both poets confers immortality on the poets and their subjects.

Ronsard, Pierre de. Sonnets for Helen. Translated by Humbert Wolfe. London: Allen and Unwin, 1972. Provides both English and French texts for a majority of the sonnets. An introductory essay details the circumstances in which the poems were written and their importance to Ronsard’s literary reputation.