Arnaut DANIEL,

Arnaut also spelled ARNAUD (b. Ribérac?; fl. 1180-1200), celebrated Provençal poet, troubadour, and master of the trobar clus, a poetic style composed of complex metrics, intricate rhymes, and words chosen more for their sound than for their meaning.

A nobleman by birth, Arnaut was a highly regarded travelling troubadour. He is credited with inventing the sestina, a lyrical form of six six-line stanzas, unrhymed, with an elaborate scheme of word repetition. His skill with language was admired by Petrarch and in the 20th century by Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. His greatest influence, however, was on Dante, who imitated him and gave him a prominent place in Purgatory as a model for the vernacular poet. Arnaut's speech in Provençal is the only passage in the Divine Comedy not in Italian.

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Last updated: 12 October, 1996