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Not only did Petrarch shape what we now know as the Italian or Petrarcian sonnet (as distringuished from the English or Shakespearean sonnet), but through this and other writings he helped shape “humanism,” which was the foundation of the Renaissance. His sonnets are humanist and typical of the Renaissance because they celebrate love in this world rather than love of God in the next. They recognize the beauty of woman and the beauty of life. Also a scholar, Petrarch found and resurrected many ancient texts, and this was another aspect of the activity of the Renaissance. In fact, he is sometimes called the “Father of the Renaissance,” developing in his studies a field of knowledge that we now refer to as “the humanities”—art, history, and literature.
These sonnets are extremely formulaic and driven by the rigid rhyme scheme which falls in line with the Renaissance fascination with structure. The sonnet also is entrenched in the Renaissance\'s passion with old ideas and formats.
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