“It has often been observed that the repercussion of poetic language on prose language can be considered a decisive cut of a whip. Strangely, Dante’s Divine Comedy did not produce a prose of that creative height or it did so after centuries. But if you study French prose before and after the school of Ronsard, the Pléiade, you will observe that French prose has lost that softness for which it was judged to be so inferior to the classical languages and has taken a veritable leap towards maturity. The effect has been curious. The Pléiade does not produce collections of homogeneous poems like those of the Italian dolce stil nuovo (which is certainly one of its sources), but it gives us from time to time true ‘antique pieces’ which could be put in a possible imaginary museum of poetry.” –Eugenio Montale, Nobel Prize in Literature Lecture (1975)
Read the full lecture here.