(Born Francesco Petracco; changed to Petrarca; also referred to as Francis Petrarch) Italian poet, philosopher, and biographer.
One of the most prominent and influential poets in world literature, Petrarch is a major figure in humanist philosophy and the early Italian Renaissance. Through his Canzoniere (begun 1330s), a collection of poems expressing his unrequited love for a woman named Laura, he popularized the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet and influenced poets throughout Europe with his imagery, themes, and diction for more than three hundred years.
Biographical InformationBorn in Arezzo, Italy, in 1304, Petrarch was the eldest son of a notary who had been banished from Florence two years earlier for his political activities. In 1312 the family moved to Avignon, France, where Petrarch's father established a successful law practice. Petrarch was privately educated by tutors, and in 1316 he began studying civil law in Montpellier. While there Petrarch's habit of spending his allowance on the works of classical poets led his father on one occasion to burn Petrarch's library except for copies of works by Vergil and Cicero. Around this time Petrarch's mother died, and he composed his earliest known poem as a tribute to her. Petrarch and his younger brother, Gherardo, who later became a monk, entered law school in Bologna, Italy, in 1320, where—except for interruptions caused by student riots—they remained until the death of their father in 1326. After abandoning his legal studies and exhausting his inheritance, Petrarch settled in Avignon and took the minor orders necessary to pursue an ecclesiastical career. While attending services on Good Friday, 1327, Petrarch purportedly saw and fell in love with a woman he called Laura. For the remainder of his life Petrarch wrote lyrics about his unrequited love for her, initially gathering them in a volume around 1336 and revising and expanding the collection thereafter. In 1330 Petrarch became a private chaplain to Cardinal Giovanni Colonna and remained in the service of the Colonna family for almost twenty years. During this time he composed or revised most of his major works, traveled on diplomatic missions, and maintained extensive correspondence with friends, scholars, and nobility throughout Europe. Because his works were widely distributed, Petrarch's passion for Laura and his talents as a lyric poet became well known and admired. In 1340 Petrarch received simultaneous invitations to be poet laureate in Paris and in Rome; after some deliberation he accepted the invitation to Rome. On Easter Sunday in 1341 an elaborate ceremony was held in the Palace of the Senate on Capitoline Hill to coronate Petrarch as poet laureate of Rome; the last ceremony of this magnitude is thought to have been held more than a thousand years earlier. Over the next three decades Petrarch continued to travel widely on diplomatic missions and personal business while continuing his literary endeavors. In 1370 he settled in the village of Arqua, Italy, and focused much of his efforts on revising and collecting his earlier works. Petrarch died on July 18, 1374.
Although best known for his Italian poetry—Trionfi (The Triumphs; begun 1338) and Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Canzoniere)—Petrarch composed most of his writings in Latin. His major poetic works include the Africa (begun 1338-39), The Triumphs, and Canzoniere. The Africa is an epic poem in Latin hexameter celebrating the victory of the Roman general Scipio Africanus over the Carthaginian general Hannibal in the Second Punic War. During the Renaissance, Petrarch's most popular work was The Triumphs, a long allegorical poem in six parts—Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Eternity—that portrayed the spiritual journey of the soul from the temporal world to eternity. Written in Italian terza rima verse, The Triumphs was particularly esteemed for its encyclopedic catalogs of famous persons, its visionary outlook, concern with worldly vanities, and emphasis on salvation through God. Petrarch called his most lasting poetic work Rerum vulgarium fragmenta ("Fragments in the Vernacular"), but since his time this work has been variously referred to as the Rime, Rime sparse, Rhymes, and, most commonly, the Canzoniere. In its final form the Canzoniere consists of 366 poems: 317 sonnets, 29 canzone, 9 sestinas, 7 ballads, and 4 madrigals. The collection is divided into two parts; the first section contains 266 poems—the majority of which focus on Laura during her lifetime, with some political, moral, and miscellaneous poems interspersed, while the poems in the second section of the Canzoniere are reminiscences about Laura after her death. Throughout the Canzoniere the narrator reflects upon his passion for Laura, the suffering caused by his unrequited love, and his efforts to free himself from his desire. The final poem of the Canzoniere closes with a plea to the Virgin Mary to end the narrator's heartache. While Laura's existence and identity remain uncertain, critics have observed that she has served as the epitome of feminine virtue and beauty for generations of poets. Petrarch's major prose works include De viris illustrious (On Illustrious Men; begun 1337); Secretum (Petrarch's Secret; begun 1342-43); De otio religioso (On Religious Idleness; 1345-47); and De remediis utriusque fortunae (Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul; begun 1353). On Illustrious Men is a collection of biographies covering such famous Romans as Romulus, Cincinnatus, and Scipio. Petrarch's Secret consists of three dialogues in which Augustine, who personifies the religious ideal, scolds Petrarch for failing to achieve the ideal. Dedicated to the Carthusian religious order, of which Petrarch's brother Gherardo was a member, On Religious Idleness examines the benefits of the religious life, particularly the ability to resist temptation. Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul discusses the proper way to live and die under varied circumstances. Petrarch characterizes life as difficult and fraught with troubles and argues that human weakness springs from our abandonment of virtue. Stressing Christian values, self-examination, and individual responsibility, Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul was immensely popular during the early Renaissance.
Petrarch is credited with popularizing—but not inventing—the Italian sonnet, a poetic form with an octet rhyming in the pattern abbaabba and a sestet that usually follows the pattern cdecde. His works in this form are generally regarded as his most significant contribution to literature, and numerous critics have credited Petrarch with reviving traditional poetic forms. Commentators have noted the relationship between form and meaning in his poetry, his use of complex syntax, and his imagery. Scholars have also frequently discussed the theme of tension between the body and spirit in Petrarch's works, his extensive use of classical mythology, his celebration of statesmen and leaders from the classical period, and his contributions to humanist philosophy, particularly his efforts to reconcile Christian and pagan ideals. As Christopher Kleinhenz observed, "The 317 sonnets that provide the form and essence of the poetic corpus of the Canzoniere are without doubt one of the finest literary legacies ever bequeathed to mankind. In their attempts to define the excellence of the Petrarchan sonnet, critics praise it for its precision and compactness, for its graceful symmetry and vibrant musicality, and for its noble sentiments and intimate tones."
*Rerum familiarium libra [Books on Personal Matters] (letters) 1325-1366
†Rerum vulgarium fragmenta [Canzoniere] (poetry) begun 1330s
De viris illustribus [On Illustrious Men] (biographies) begun 1337
Africa (unfinished epic poem) begun 1338-1339
Trionfi [The Triumphs] (unfinished poem) begun 1338
Secretum [Petrarch's Secret] (dialogues) begun 1342-1343
Rerum memorandarum libri [Books on Matters to Be Remembered] (prose) begun 1342-1343
Psalmi poemitentiales [Penitential Psalms] (poetry) begun 1342-1343
De otio religioso [On Religious Idleness] (essay) 1345-1347
Bucolicum carmen [Bucolic Song] (poetry) begun 1345-1347
De vita solitaria [On the Solitary Life] (essay) 1345-1347
Liber sine nomine [Petrarch's Book without a Name] (letters) 1351-1353
De remediis utriusque fortunae [Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul] (dialogues) begun 1353
Epistolae seniles [Letters of Old Age] (letters) 1361-1374
De sui ipsius et multorum ignorantia [On His Own Ignorance and That of Many Others] (essay) 1367
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SOURCE: Ugo Foscolo, "A Parallel between Dante and Petrarach," in Essays on Petrarch, John Murray, 1823, pp. 163-208.
[In the following essay, Foscolo, a renowed Italian poet, compares the poetry and philosophy of Dante and Petrarch.]
L'UN DISPOSTO A PATIRE E L'ALTRO A FARE. DANTE, PURG. C. XXV.
The excess of erudition in the age of Leo the Tenth, carried the refinements of criticism so far as even to prefer elegance of taste to boldness of genius. The laws of the Italian language were thus deduced, and the models of poetry selected exclusively from the works of Petrarch; who being then proclaimed superior to Dante, the sentence remained, until our times, unreversed. Petrarch himself mingles Dante indiscriminately with others eclipsed by his own fame—
Ma ben ti prego, che in la terza spera,
Guitton saluti, e Messer Cino, e Dante,
Franceschin nostro, e tutta quella shiera.
Così or quinci, or quindi rimirando
Vidi in una fiorita e verde piaggia
Gente che d'Amor givan ragionando.
Ecco Dante, e Beatrice: ecco Selvaggia,
Ecco Cin da Pistoja; Guitton d' Arezzo;
Ecco i due Guidi che giá furo in prezzo;
Onesto Bolognese, e i Siciliani.
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SOURCE: "Petrarch," in Littell's Living Age, Vol. XXIV, No. 1802, December, 1878, pp. 771-87.
[In the review below, the anonymous critic remarks on Henry Reeve's Petrarch (1878) and discusses Petrarch's contribution to the Italian Renaissance as a humanist and poetic stylist.]
The true position of Petrarch in the history of modern culture has recently been better understood, owing to a renewed and careful examination of his Latin works in prose and verse. Not very long ago he lived upon the lips of all educated people as the lover of Laura, the poet of the canzoniere, the hermit of Vaucluse, the founder of a school of sentimental sonneteers called Petrarchisti. This fame of Italy's first lyrist still belongs to Petrarch, and remains perhaps his highest title to immortality, seeing that the work of the artist outlives the memory of services rendered to civilization by the pioneer of learning. Yet we now know that Petrarch's poetry exhausted but a small portion of his intellectual energy, and was included in a vaster and far more universally important life-task. What he did for the modern world was not merely to bequeath to his Italian imitators masterpieces of lyrical art unrivalled for perfection of workmanship, but to open out for Europe a new sphere of mental activity. Petrarch is the founder of humanism, the man of genius who, standing within the threshold of the Middle Ages,...
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SOURCE: Henry Dwight Sedgwick, "Francis Petrarch, 1304-1904," in The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XCIV, No. LXI, July, 1904, pp. 60-9.
[In the excerpt below, Sedgwick celebrates the six hundreth anniversary of Petrarch's birth with a laudatory survey of the poet's life and literary importance.]
Six hundred years ago, on the 20th of July, 1304, a little Florentine baby was born into exile in a house on Via dell' Orto in Arezzo, whither his father, banished from Florence, had fled. Civil war between Ghibelline and Guelf raged everywhere, mingled with ambitions of nobles and jealousies of cities, with local wrongs and chance enmities. Exiles found no rest; within the year the baby was suspended from a stick, like a papoose, and carried to Incisa in the Valdarno; and before he was a lad his family had wandered to Pisa, and on to Avignon, lately become the city of the papal court. Thence the boy was sent to school at Carpentras, some fifteen miles away.
His father, Ser Petracco—the fastidious son softened these burgher syllables to Petrarca—was a notary, but like a true Florentine wishing his son to fly higher in the world than he, determined to make him a doctor of law, a student and expounder of Pandects; but by some eccentricity of nature, the sons of notaries become addicted to letters, and the boy Francis was already elbow deep in the Latin classics. Discovering this, Ser Petracco,...
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SOURCE: Annie Russell Marble, "Petrarch" and "Modern Echoes of Petrarch," in The Dial, Chicago, Vol. XXXVI, No. 434, July 16, 1904, pp. 27-9, 29-31.
[In the essay below, Marble discusses Petrarch's influence on poetry from the Renaissance to the present.]
In the summer of 1304, the exiled Ghibellines, including in their number the greatest of Italian poets, made their headquarters in the Tuscan town of Arezzo, whence they vainly sought to effect a return to their beloved Florence, which had cast them forth with contumely. One of these exiles, expelled from Florence on the same day with Dante something more than two years earlier, was a scholar and politician of some consequence named Petracco; and to him there was born, on the 20th of July, the child destined to a fame among Italian poets second only to that of his father's friend and fellow-exile. The personal relations which thus link the names of Dante and Petrarch did not, however, operate to shape the two poets in anything like the same mould; and the chief instruction offered by setting them side by side is found in the marked contrast between their temperament, their outlook, and their ideals. The main point of contrast is, of course, to be found in the fact that Dante was the incarnation of the mediæval spirit, while Petrarch had in some dim sense the vision of the world to come 'and all the wonder that should be'; the thoughts and the emotions...
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SOURCE: Nathan Haskell Dole, "Lyric Poetry and Petrarca," in A Teacher of Dante and Other Studies in Italian Literature, Moffat, Yard & Company, 1908, pp. 89-141.
[In the following excerpt, Dole provides an overview of Petrarch's life, focusing on the poet's adoration for Laura and the poetry he dedicated to her.]
In passing from Dante to Petrarca we come into another world. Dante closes an era: he is the Titan of Italian poetry; with him the mediæval is summed up forever.
Petrarca is as modern as Chaucer. Just as in midsummer, sometimes, a few days of genuine spring weather seem to stray like summer birds from their exile in the South, as if impatient to be at home once more, so we find simultaneously in England and Italy these two modern men centuries ahead of their day. How gay, unsentimental, free from morbidness, from provincialism is Dan Chaucer! He was of humble origin, the name signifying shoemaker, and yet he rose to be courted by kings and emperors and one of his descendants just missed inheriting the throne of England.
So Petrarca, as is proved by the name, which means Little Peter or Peterkin, sprang from the common people. His father was Ser Petracco di Ser Parenza—unable even to boast a family name—and when he was driven from Florence by that miserable squabble between the two factions that were always tearing the vitals of the city, he carried...
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SOURCE: Theodor E. Mommsen, "An Introduction to Petrarch's Sonnets and Songs," in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, edited by Eugene F. Rice, Jr., Cornell, 1959, pp. 73-100.
[In the following essay, Mommsen contrasts the critiques of Petrarch's poetry offered by his peers with those of subsequent generations, arguing that during Petrarch's lifetime he was valued for his classical style, while later scholars praised his originality.]
Petrarch presents in his life and work a most interesting example of a complete mutation in literary fame. For there exists in critical annals a very marked and curious contrast between his reputation among his contemporaries and in subsequent periods.
In the popular imagination of today his name is indissolubly linked with that of Laura,
"La bella giovenetta ch'ora è donna."
(Rime No. 127)
This tradition reaches back many centuries; in fact it had originated shortly after his death. To the majority of the generations of his admirers, Petrarch has been primarily the lover of Laura and the author of the Rime, the sonnets and songs which he began in his youth and in which he never tired of singing of his love. Among Italians and non-Italians the image and fame of that Petrarch are just as much alive today as they were vivid towards the end of...
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SOURCE: Thomas P. Roche, Jr., "The Calendrical Structure of Petrarch's Canzoniere" in Studies in Philology, Vol. LXXI, No. 2, April, 1974, pp. 152-72.
[In the essay below, Roche argues that Petrarch consciously utilized Renaissance concepts of numerology in the structuring of the Canzoniere.]
The purpose of this essay is to argue that the ordering of the three hundred and sixty-six poems in Petrarch's Canzoniere is numerologically oriented and that one of the main structures in this ordering is a calendrical framework that places the Canzoniere unequivocally in the context of fourteenth-century Christian morality. Without even referring to recent studies about numerological composition in English poetry of the Renaissance or to the overwhelming evidence of Biblical commentaries from earliest times through the seventeenth century,1 we have the figure of Dante, whose numerological structuring of La Vita Nuova and La Divina Commedia has never been called into question. Behind Dante are the Platonic and Pythagorean theories of the mathematical basis of the universe. From the time of Plato's Timaeus and later of Boethius' Arithmetic (both works used as text books throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance) men learned that God had created the world in number, weight, and measure, and these philosophical texts for the Christian...
(The entire section is 6838 words.)
SOURCE: Francis X. Murphy, "Petrarch and the Christian Philosophy," in Francesco Petrarca: Citizen of the World, edited by Aldo S. Bernardo, State University of New York Press, 1980, pp. 223-47.
[In the excerpt below, Murphy examines Petrarch's humanism and argues that he was a "genuine Christian philosopher."]
During the month of February, 1325, Francesco Petrarca purchased a manuscript of the De civitate dei of St. Augustine for 12 florins from the executors of Cinthius, a cantor of Tours. The budding poet was twenty-one, and on leave in Avignon from his legal studies in Bologna. This information is contained in a note in his own hand on the manuscript, and represents what is probably the earliest of Petrarch's preserved autographs. As such, it is also the first of a long series of annotations that supply an avid posterity with authentic biographical detail, in contrast to the frequently ambiguous if not contrived information he wove into his poems and prose compositions.1
The acquisition of the De civitate did not immediately affect Petrarch's literary tastes or student mores. He confesses that it was only when he joined the household of the Colonna in the 1330s that he began to take an interest in the sacred scriptures and the literary productions of the Christian authors.2
On his definitive return from Bologna, in 1326, Petrarch and...
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SOURCE: Concetta Carestia Greenfield, "The Poetics of Francis Petrarch," in Francis Petrarch, Six Centuries Later: A Symposium, edited by Aldo Scaglione, University of North Carolina Press and The Newberry Library, 1975, pp. 213-22.
[In the following essay, Greenfield examines Petrarch's poetics as it relates to Platonism, Aristotelianism, and the legitimacy of pagan literature from the classical period. Greenfield concludes that Petrarch's poetics was "an elaboration of the rhetorical and Platonic tradition against the new Aristotelianism"]
Poetry for Petrarch was the catalyst for a humanist awakening, the symbol of a renewed consciousness. Salutati and Boccaccio looked back to Petrarch and Dante as the ones who opened the way for the return of the Muses to Italy. Indeed, if the word Humanism referred to a reawakening centering around the consciousness-expanding power of poetry, Petrarch would certainly be its primary innovator.1 Completely original in his poetry, he developed in his poetics some of the themes introduced by his Paduan predecessor Albertino Mussato. Petrarch's discussion of poetics was tightly bound up with the major issues of the thirteenth-century intellectual tradition, namely: 1) the conflict in poetics between a humanist-patristic tradition of Platonic inspiration and the new Aristotelianism based on all the translations of Aristotle's Organon; and 2) the debate...
(The entire section is 4283 words.)
SOURCE: Robert M. Durling, in an introduction to Petrarch's Lyric Poems: The Rime Sparse and Other Lyrics, edited and translated by Robert M. Durling, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976, pp. 1-33.
[In the essay below, Durling provides a thematic and stylistic analysis of the Rime sparse.]
Ser Petracco (or, as he sometimes spelled it, Petrarcha) of Florence was exiled from his native city in 1301, at the same time as his friend Dante Alighieri; but his later life was much more prosperous than Dante's. Along with many other Italians he eventually moved to Avignon, the new seat of the papacy, where he became one of the most successful members of the legal profession, thanks partly to the patronage of powerful Italian clergymen. His eldest son, Francesco, who had been born in Arezzo on July 20, 1304, was eight when the family moved to Provence; with his mother and brother Francesco lived near Avignon, in Carpentras. Francesco was given every educational advantage. As a boy he had adistinguished tutor, the grammarian Convenevole da Prato, and as a young man he was maintained for ten years as a law student at two of the foremost universities of the day, first Montpellier and then Bologna.
After Ser Petracco's death in 1326, Francesco and his brother, Gherardo, returned to Avignon, now the most cosmopolitan cultural center in Europe, and lived for a time as wealthy young men...
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SOURCE: Charles Trinkaus, "Petrarch and Classical Philosophy," in The Poet as Philosopher: Petrarch and the Formation of Renaissance Consciousness, Yale University Press, 1979, pp. 1-26.
[In the following excerpt, Trinkaus examines Petrarch's contributions as a philosopher and argues that his "conception of ancient philosophy was shaped by his sensibilities as a poet."]
Petrarch's knowledge of ancient thought was amazingly extensive. Yet how he incorporated this knowledge into his own philosophy is not entirely clear. De Nolhac and Sabbadini laid the foundations for our efforts to reconstruct Petrarch's classical humanism, and Billanovich, Pellegrin, and Wilkins, with major assistance from such scholars of the previous generation as Rossi and Bosco, have come close to completing the edifice.1 But scholars continue to differ on the questions of what ideas Petrarch drew from his knowledge of ancient philosophies, and how, to what degree, and when he made use of his readings.2
Petrarch identified himself at various times as a poet, a historian, a rhetorician, and a moral His awareness of the classical philosophical3 heritage was formed by his responses to it in all of these roles. Yet the way in which his conception of ancient philosophy was shaped by his sensibilities as a poet is of special interest. It is likely that Petrarch understood classical philosophy...
(The entire section is 7890 words.)
SOURCE: Mariann Sanders Regan, "Petrarch," in Love Words: The Self and the Text in Medieval and Renaissance Poetry, Cornell, 1982, pp. 184-222.
[In the following excerpt, Regan focuses on themes of love and self-examination in her reading of the Rime sparse.]
et perché 'l mio martir non giunga a riva,
mille volte il dì moro et mille nasco,
tanto da la salute mia son lunge.1
We cannot intuit Lover infans in Petrarch's Canzoniere so easily or directly as we can in the lyrics by Dante and Arnaut Daniel. For through the metaphoric language of fusion, an illumined dyad sustains Daniel's poems, and a central presencing event rests at the heart of Dante's poetry; by contrast, in none of Petrarch's various works do Poet and Lover move harmoniously, in continual metaphors of fusion, toward some central arrheton, Rather, in these poems Poet and Lover join in more difficult, defensive verbal efforts, as though in reaction to an inadequate or finally unavailable Source. This "as though"—this pervasive sense of untrustworthy central Source and conflicted central infans—may serve as our beginning intuition for Petrarch's poetry. The lyrics of the Canzoniere may be understood as works of self-texturing appropriate to this uncertain...
(The entire section is 14040 words.)
SOURCE: Gordon Braden, "Love and Fame: The Petrarchan Career," in Pragmatism's Freud: The Moral Disposition of Psychoanalysis, edited by Joseph K. Smith and William Kerrigan, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986, pp. 126-58.
[In the essay below, Braden bases his discussion of Petrarch's love poetry on Freud's ideas concerning "unconventional object choices."]
"The most striking distinction between the erotic life of antiquity and our own," Freud ventures in a late footnote to his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, "no doubt lies in the fact that the ancients laid the stress upon the instinct itself, whereas we emphasize its object. The ancients glorified the instinct and were prepared on its account to honour even an inferior object; while we despise the instinctual activity in itself, and find excuses for it only in the merits of the object" (S.E. 7: 149). Those are not equal options; psychoanalysis aligns itself with the ancient wisdom: "Anyone who looks down with contempt upon psychoanalysis from a superior vantage-point should remember how closely the enlarged sexuality of psycho-analysis coincides with the Eros of the divine Plato" (134). Understanding such Eros means undoing a major disposition of our culture: "We have been in the habit of regarding the connection between the sexual instinct and the sexual object as more intimate than it in fact is.… It seems probable that...
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SOURCE: Peter Hainsworth, in an introduction to Petrarch the Poet: An Introduction to the Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta, Routledge, 1988, pp. 1-29.
[In the following essay, Hainsworth focuses on Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, which is commonly known as the Canzoniere or Rime sparse. Hainsworth discusses the context in the which the poems were written and examines Petrarch's concern with humanism and the meaning of poetry.]
Italian literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is composed in the shadow of Latin. The shadow may seem sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, but it is inevitably there, evoking an alternately benign and threatening presence whose roots stretch back into antiquity and whose branches extend across Europe. Latin asserts repeatedly that it has the exclusive right to knowledge and excellence, and continually demands that its authors and authority should be attended to. When it seems most displaced, it infiltrates the less prestigious, less stable language with its words, its turns of phrase, its rhetoric and its standards. If there is such a thing as popular literature, the index of popularity is the distance from Latin. Literature which makes implicit or explicit claims to refinement, let alone to greatness, does so in virtue of its power to assimilate what Latin has to offer and to become like it. Only in the...
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Wilkins, Ernest H. Life of Petrarch. Chicago: Phoenix Books/ University of Chicago Press, 1961, 276 p.
Standard biography of Petrarch.
Mazzotta, Giuseppe. "Humanism and Monastic Spirituality in Petrarch." Stanford Literature Review 5, Nos. 1-2 (1988): 57-74.
Discusses Petrarch's ideas on asceticism, secular humanism, and spirituality, focusing on Petrarch's De vita solitaria and De otio religioso as well as his relationship with his brother Gherardo, who was a monk.
Prier, Raymond. "The Figurai Ontology of the Text: Petrarch." In Interpreting the Italian Renaissance: Literary Perspectives, edited by Antonio Toscano, pp. 1-8. Stony Brook: Forum Italicum, 1991.
Compares the figural poetics of Dante and Petrarch. Prier concludes that "Petrarch experiences a figura within and expresses it in a multiplicity of language on a page that lies without."
Proctor, Robert E. "Petrarch and the Origins of the Humanities." In Education's Great Amnesia: Reconsidering the Humanities from Petrarch to Freud, pp. 25-58. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988.
Examines Petrarch's ideas on values and the...
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