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Francesco Petrarca
Petrarch portrait by Altichiero
Petrarch portrait by Altichiero
BornFrancesco Petracco
July 20, 1304
(in modern Tuscany, Italy)
DiedJuly 19, 1374(1374-07-19) (aged 69)
Arquà, Padua
(in modern Italy)
Resting placeArquà Petrarca
OccupationScholar, poet
LanguageItalian, Latin
Alma materUniversity of Montpellier
University of Bologna
PeriodEarly Renaissance
Literary movementRenaissance humanism
Notable worksTriumphs
Il Canzoniere
Notable awardsPoet laureate of Padua
Partnerunknown woman or women
ChildrenGiovanni (1337–1361)
Francesca (born in 1343)
RelativesEletta Canigiani (mother)
Ser Petracco (father)
Santa Maria della Pieve in Arezzo
Santa Maria della Pieve in Arezzo
La Casa del Petrarca (birthplace) at Vicolo dell'Orto, 28 in Arezzo
La Casa del Petrarca (birthplace) at Vicolo dell'Orto, 28 in Arezzo

Francesco Petrarca (Italian: [franˈtʃesko peˈtrarka]; July 20, 1304 – July 18/19, 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (/ˈptrɑːrk, ˈpɛ-/), was a scholar and poet of Renaissance Italy who was one of the earliest humanists. His rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited with inventing the 14th-century Renaissance. Petrarch is often considered the founder of Humanism.[1] In the 16th century, Pietro Bembo created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch's works, as well as those of Giovanni Boccaccio, and, to a lesser extent, Dante Alighieri.[2] Petrarch would be later endorsed as a model for Italian style by the Accademia della Crusca.

Petrarch's sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the "Dark Ages."[3]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Petrarch and the Sonnet
  • ✪ Francesco Petrarca
  • ✪ Boccaccio, Petrarch, and the Invention of "Dante" - Joseph Luzzi
  • ✪ Sr A, Intro to Petrarch
  • ✪ What Was Humanism? AP Euro Bit by Bit #2


Hi, I'm Rebecca Balcarcel. Let's find out where the sonnet comes from, the sonnet being one of the most popular forms in the English language. You might think started with Shakespeare. But it didn't. It actually started in Italy, with a guy named Francesco Petrarch. And Shakespeare picked it up a couple-hundred years later. Let's find out more. Frank in love, and how it led to the most famous of poem forms, the sonnet. Frank is my pet name for Francesco, of course, and we'll see how love is what inspired him to be so prolific with his sonnet writing. So here we have Francesco, born in 1304, couple-hundred years before Shakespeare. In the letter he wrote to posterity, he talked about his early life, and he mentions his schooling. He says, "I learned as much of grammer, logic, and rhetoric as my age permitted, or rather, as much as it is customary to teach in school. How little that is, dear reader, thou knowest." This is funny because, obviously, he doesn't think he learned that much in school, and we can sometimes relate. Young Francesco was pretty promising, and everybody thought, wow, he could be something like a lawyer. He started to study law. He says, "I then set out to study law. I heard the whole body of the civil law, and would, as many thought, have distinguished myself later, had I but continued my studies. I gave up the subject altogether, however, so soon as it was no longer necessary to consult the wishes of my parents. My reason was that although the dignity of the law, which is doubtless very great, I felt it to be habitually degraded by those who practiced it." So like now, sometimes lawyers were doing unscrupulous things, and he did not want to go along with that. He said, "It went against me painfully to acquire an art which I would not practice dishonestly, and could hardly hope to exercise otherwise." That means that successful lawyers had to be dishonest, and therefore, he just couldn't do it. He goes on: "Had I made the latter attempt, my scupulousness would doubtless have been ascribed to simplicity." He means that, if he had tried to be an honest lawyer, people would have thought he was stupid, that he was simple. And so this was not going to work at all. He says, "At the age of two and twenty I returned home." Now what's he going to do? Well, let's go back to the idea of the church. Turns out that his father was the one who wanted him to be a lawyer, and his father died, so he was able to go to his first love, which was the church. In four years he completed the minor orders, and he becomes a diplomat for the church. That means he wasn't a priest, but rather, he would go around, broker peace treaties, stuff like that. Now this job allowed him to travel quite a bit. He was in France when something very important happened. Young Petrarch, early twenties, is sitting in church, when suddenly he sees Laura. So, as the historian Peter Sadlon puts it, "It's April 6th, 1327, Good Friday, at an Easter mass, when Petrarch sees Laura for the first time." Now we don't really know who Laura even was, so we have a bit of a mystery here. It could be that she is Laura de Noves, who would have been born in 1310, but unfortunately was already married by the time Petrarch meets her. So if it's that Laura, then his love is never going to be requited. That means it's never going to be returned, and he'll have to love from afar. We're not even sure that he ever even talked to her, but he certainly fell in love with her, and he would go on to write hundreds of poems to her, which in years to come would be shared, as people took them around the world. They were translated into every known language of the time. They became very popular. One of the reasons for this popularity is probably that everyone can related to love at first sight. Laura is 17 when she meets Petrarch, or she sees him, or really he sees her, at mass when they're at church. And here's the actual remains of the church today, in Avignon, which is again in France. Some nice Gothic architecture there. And here is another portrait of Laura, and more remains of the church there, and the little plaque that announces in French, that this is the place where Laura and Petrarch met. It even talks about their immortal love, and it's immortal because the sonnets have preserved their love forever. Here we see the building as it is today. It's a theater, and you can still see some of the archways and windows that look kind of church-like, but it is now in use as a performance base. So the drama of great love can continue on stage. Petrarch eventually writes 366 poems about Laura. 317 of them being sonnets. Now he collects them all together, and he calls the group "Canzoniere," which means songs, like "cancion," in Spanish means song. Critic Stanley Martin writes that Petrarch reimagined the conventions of love poetry in the most profound way: Love for the idealized lady was the path towards learning how to properly love God. Notice how in this painting we see Laura appearing before Petrarch almost like an angel, and of course we have Cupid as well, about to shoot him with an arrow of love, but the attitude he has toward her is quite reverent, is worshipful, and it's through loving a woman that a man can purify his soul and discover divine love. Here we see Petrarch depicted with a portrait of Laura, which is on the right. With a pen in his hand, he reclines, leaning back toward her, looking to her for inspiration. He also seems to be in attitude of ecstasy, hoping that looking at her will inspire a new poem. Now Petrarch wrote a sonnet that captures the moment when he first met Laura. He talks about how there was an eclipse that day, and then goes on to say how love attacked him, but he did not defend himself. "It was on that day when the sun's ray / was darkened in pity for its Maker, / that I was captured, and did not defend myself, / because your lovely eyes had bound me, Lady. / It did not seem to me to be a time to guard myself / against Love's blows: so I went on / confident, unsuspecting; from that, my troubles / started, amongst the public sorrows. / Love discovered me all weaponless, / and opened the way to the heart through the eyes, / which are made the passageways and doors of tears: / so that it seems to me it does him little honour / to wound me with his arrow, in that state, / he not showing his bow at all to you who are armed." So he's referring to Cupid here, who is able to wound Petrarch with his arrow, but Laura is not going to be hurt by the arrow, because she is armed. There's some kind of defense that she has against this love and this arrow of Cupid. But he's weaponless, and his eyes are the way that the love has managed to enter, because he sees her, and is so struck and moved by her that he does indeed fall in love. Now let's get ready to look at the structure of this poem. You notice how it has a stanza of four lines, and then another four lines, and then we have two sets of three. So basically, we have a set of eight and a set of six, and this is typical for what's now called the Petrarchan sonnet. So we have in most Petrarchan sonnets that octave, which is the set of eight lines, and then a sestet, which is the set of six lines. Now remember your root words, and you know that "oct" means eight and "ses" means six. There's also a rhyme pattern: A B B A A B B A, in the octave. So that means we might have something like nation, fair, care, station, for the first set, and the same sounds again for the second set. For the sestet we move into some new sounds, and we label those C, D, the C sound, the D sound. And there'll be an alternating of C D C D. Or even a fifth sound might come in: C D E C D E. In any case, we have 14 lines total, and there's a turn at the ninth line. So after the octave, we get what's called a volta, which is a shift in the poem, and this is usually the point where the poet starts to really make an interesting point. The whole thing will be in a particular rhythm. It's called iambic pentameter, which means it's in a rhythm that goes like this: da DA da DA da DA da DA da DA. So let's look at another example. This is sonnet 292. You can see the purple part is the octave, the brown is the sestet, and the volta is marked with the brown arrow. I'll just read it. "The eyes I spoke of once in words that burn, / the arms and hands and feet and lovely face / that took me from myself for such a space / of time and marked me out from other men; / the waving hair of unmixed gold that shone, / the smile that flashed with the angelic rays / that used to make this earth a paradise, / are now a little dust, all feeling gone; / and yet..." Now this is the volta, right? Because "yet" always signals a change. Everything that has come before has described the beautiful lover. However, she's died, because all of her hair and eyes and so on are now dust, and the feeling from them is gone. So the lover has died, and yet he remains. So the sestet it going to talk about that: "and yet I live, grief and disdain to me, / left where the light I cherished never shows, / in fragile bark on the tempestuous sea. / Here let my loving song come to a close; / the vein of my accustomed art is dry, / and this, my lyre, turned at last to tears." This is so sad. He compares himself to a bark, which is a boat, on a stormy sea. He says my loving song, the poem, is going to have to come to a close, because the inspiration for it, this vein, is now dry. And this, my lyre, meaning poetry itself, and poem-writing, has turned to tears. Now let's take a closer look at the rhythm that Petrarch uses. It's called iambic pentameter. Don't let the word scare you. "Penta" means five, so you have five of something. "Meter" means rhythm. It just means we have a rhythm that has five of something, and what the something is is iams. So one iam would be a da-DA, and five of them go, duh-DUM duh-DUM duh-DUM duh-DUM duh-DUM. We have an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. "Until I finish this I'll stay awake." There's an example. Let's feel it in our bodies by using a snap clap five times. So it goes like this: Snap clap snap clap snap clap snap clap snap clap. "Until I finish this I'll stay awake." That'll help you feel the rhythm physically. And then you can sense it in the poem, as you read it. Now let's take a look at some conventions. That means some typical themes that Petrarch uses in his poems, and then afterwards, everybody else uses in their sonnets too. Courtly love for an unattainable lady is common in many sonnets, in particular Petrarch. Love is horribly painful. The angelic lady is cruel in rejecting the poet's love. Love is a religion who's practice egnobles the lover. Love at first sight appears in many sonnets. Christian and Classical, which means Greek, imagery coexist. We have both references to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as Hera or Aphrodite. Cupid is cruel and powerful. The poet is at war with himself, and has internal struggles. These are typical of Petrarch's sonnets, and later sonnet-writers, sonneteers, will use the sonnet to explore those same themes even as they use different words. Eventually, Laura dies, and Petrarch writes on a fly-leaf of a favorite book, which is written by Virgil, he says, "Laura, who was distinguished by her own virtues, and widely celebrated by my songs, first appeared to my eyes in my early manhood, in the year of our Lord 1327, upon the sixth day of April, at first hour, in the Church of Santa Clara, Avignon." So that's when he saw her for the first time. In the same city, on the same month of April, on the same sixth day, at the same first hour, in the year 1348, that light was taken from our day, while I was by chance in Verona, ignorant, alas! of my fate." So when he says, "that light was taken" he means that Laura was taken. And he happened to be in Verona, which is where Shakespeare chose to set Romeo and Juliet, where it takes place. So that's kind of interesting. Poor Petrarch. Now the question of who Petrarch's Laura really was continues unanswered to this day. It might have been Laura de Noves, but we're not entirely sure. Trying to answer this question, her tomb was dug up, and when it was opened, they discovered a lead box inside. In the lead box was a medal that represented a woman ripping at her heart, and under the medal was a sonnet by Petrarch. That seems pretty conclusive, but we have to remember that Petrarch's sonnets were circulated widely, and this Laura may have simply thought it was charming that Petrarch was writing to some other Laura, and it was just a coincidence. Either way, Laura was certianly an inspiration for Petrarch. Even after Laura's death, Petrarch continued to work on sonnets in her honor, writing 103 new sonnets. And then, in 1341, while he's still in his 30s, remember, Petrarch is crowned poet laureate of Rome. Apparently Paris offered to crown him their poet laureate as well, since he spent lots of time in France, but he decided that Rome was more proper, since he was born an Italian. Besides sonnets, he writes hundreds of letters that he collects into books. He also writes books on faith, including conversations with a character that he names "Truth," and also he puts himself in conversation with saints, so old, dead saints. He decides to write to them and invent their replies. Then he writes longer poems and meditations on humans reaching their potential. He does this because he's quite interested in the Greek and Roman writers, in humans developing their skills in logic, in creativity, and he brings all of this into his contemporary time, which is the Renaissance. The Renaissance is about to happen, and he's one of the people who brings alive these older Greek and Roman texts. Here we see Petrarch's handwriting. He's writing with a quill, and he's working on describing the life of one of the Classical authors, Scipio. Here's a book page from an edition of Petrarch's work, published in 1470. You can see how these pages are illuminated. They have all those colors and decorations on them. On July 19, 1374, right before he turns 70 years old, Petrarch is found dead by his daughter Francesca. He's slumped over his desk, working on another great piece of writing. Here's his tomb in Arqua Petrarca. The town originally did not have his name at the end of it, but they added it on. I should mention that he had this daughter, Francesca, out of wedlock, because, as a man of the church, he was not allowed to marry. But he apparently had at least two children, perhaps by the same mother, perhaps not. But his daughter did find him when he died. Here is the village of Arqua Petrarca, and his house. You can see where in Italy it is, kind of near Venice in northern Italy. Petrarch influenced countless writers of his own time, including his friend Boccaccio, who wrote the famous DECAMERON. It's a frame tale, which means it has stories inside of stories. Petrarch's style inspires poets throughout the Renaissance. His use of enjambment, which means continuing the sense of a sentence beyond the line break... And of course the sonnet itself... His humanist thinking ends the dark ages. Because he studies the Greek and Roman authors, and revives interest in them, he's credited with starting the Renaissance, meaning starting interest in those works, and the scholarship around those works. Shakespeare reads him 200 years later, and writes many many sonnets as well. In later years, the English writers bring the sonnet to England, and simplify the rhyme, because English doesn't have a lot of rhyming words the way other Latin-based languages do. Shakespeare writes his 156 sonnet sequence in the 1590s, but he also brings sonnets into his plays. Let's take a look at one that's hidden inside of Romeo and Juliet. Notice how Romeo is able to convince Juliet to kiss him with his clever word-play, and also notice how this is a 14-line sonnet, even though each character takes some lines, and then hands it off to the other. "If I profane with my unworthiest hand / This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: / My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand / To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss." So he's saying, if my hand is doing you some dishonor by touching it, well then, my lips could just come in and fix that, you know. With that rough touch, I could just tenderly smooth that over with my lips. Juliet says, "Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, / Which mannerly devotion shows in this; / For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, / And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss." So she says, your hand isn't doing anything bad. Don't wrong it. Don't insult your hand. Saints have hands, and praying is something that we do with our hands. Romeo says, "Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?" And she says, "Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer." So you see how she's pushing him back. And then he says, "O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; / Then pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair." So he wants to lips to touch the same way that hands touch in prayer. She says, "Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake." "Then move not," says Romeo, "while my prayer's effect I take." So you see, he's saying she is a saint, and she says, saints don't move. He says, okay then, don't move, and I'll just come to you. Right? "The prayer's effect I take." He moves to kiss her. Very clever. Now notice that Shakespeare's using all the sonnet tricks: iambic pentameter, rhythm, and rhyme. He's not the only one using the sonnet form. There's John Milton; John Dun, with his holy sonnets; John Keats in the 1800s; and, moving into the 20th century, Robert Frost; Edna St. Vincent Millay; and many others. There's a famous modern sonnet by Billy Collins that makes fun of Petrarch, in fact. I believe it's just called "Sonnet." You can check it out online. Let's look at one final sonnet. This is by John Keats. He lived around 1800. This is "Bright Star." "Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art / Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night / And watching, with eternal lids apart, / Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite, / The moving waters at their priestlike task / Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, / Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask / Of snow upon the mountains and the moors / No, yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, / Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, / To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, / Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, / Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, / And so live ever or else swoon to death." Now this is another love sonnet. It is in that tradition of Petrarch, because of it's subject matter. But notice how it's divided into three sets of four lines each? Those are quatrains, like the word "quarter." Quatrain there in blue, quatrain in purple, quatrain in red, and those last two lines that rhyme with each other, that is a couplet. And it's Shakespeare who brings the sonnet into this particular form. This is called a Shakespearean sonnet, whereas the other version is the Petrarchan, naturally. Both have the iambic pentameter, both have a strict rhyme scheme, and both are usually dealing with love and similar topics, those Petrachan conventions that I listed. If you're wondering what this poem is about, the star is a distant observer, while the poet wants to be up close to the lover, and lay his head on her chest, and that sort of thing. He wants to as faithful as a star is, but closer and more intimate with his love. In fact, he says, if he can't live like that, then he would rather swoon in death. Very romantic. Thank you for Frank, Francesco Petrarch, for bringing us the sonnet, and also for letting love inspire you to write such wonderful poems. I hope you'll join me for another video sometime.



Youth and early career

Petrarch was born in the Tuscan city of Arezzo July 20 in 1304. He was the son of Ser Petracco and his wife Eletta Canigiani. His given name was Francesco Petracco. The name was Latinized to Petrarca. Petrarch's younger brother was born in Incisa in Val d'Arno in 1307. Dante was a friend of his father.[4]

Petrarch spent his early childhood in the village of Incisa, near Florence. He spent much of his early life at Avignon and nearby Carpentras, where his family moved to follow Pope Clement V who moved there in 1309 to begin the Avignon Papacy. He studied law at the University of Montpellier (1316–20) and Bologna (1320–23) with a lifelong friend and schoolmate called Guido Sette. Because his father was in the legal profession (a notary), he insisted that Petrarch and his brother study law also. Petrarch however, was primarily interested in writing and Latin literature and considered these seven years wasted. Additionally, he proclaimed that through legal manipulation his guardians robbed him of his small property inheritance in Florence, which only reinforced his dislike for the legal system. He protested, "I couldn't face making a merchandise of my mind," as he viewed the legal system as the art of selling justice.[4]

Petrarch was a prolific letter writer and counted Boccaccio among his notable friends to whom he wrote often. After the death of their parents, Petrarch and his brother Gherardo went back to Avignon in 1326, where he worked in numerous clerical offices. This work gave him much time to devote to his writing. With his first large-scale work, Africa, an epic in Latin about the great Roman general Scipio Africanus, Petrarch emerged as a European celebrity. On April 8, 1341, he became the second [5] poet laureate since antiquity and was crowned by Roman Senatori Giordano Orsini and Orso dell'Anguillara on the holy grounds of Rome's Capitol.[6][7][8]

He traveled widely in Europe, served as an ambassador, and has been called "the first tourist"[9] because he traveled just for pleasure,[10] and the reason he climbed Mont Ventoux.[11] During his travels, he collected crumbling Latin manuscripts and was a prime mover in the recovery of knowledge from writers of Rome and Greece. He encouraged and advised Leontius Pilatus's translation of Homer from a manuscript purchased by Boccaccio, although he was severely critical of the result. Petrarch had acquired a copy, which he did not entrust to Leontius,[12] but he knew no Greek; Homer, Petrarch said, "was dumb to him, while he was deaf to Homer".[13] In 1345 he personally discovered a collection of Cicero's letters not previously known to have existed, the collection Epistulae ad Atticum, in the Chapter Library (Biblioteca Capitolare) of Verona Cathedral.[14]

Disdaining what he believed to be the ignorance of the centuries preceding the era in which he lived, Petrarch is credited or charged with creating the concept of a historical "Dark Ages".[3]

Mount Ventoux

Summit of Mont Ventoux
Summit of Mont Ventoux

Petrarch recounts that on April 26, 1336, with his brother and two servants, he climbed to the top of Mont Ventoux (1,912 meters (6,273 ft), a feat which he undertook for recreation rather than necessity.[15] The exploit is described in a celebrated letter addressed to his friend and confessor, the monk Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro, composed some time after the fact. In it, Petrarch claimed to have been inspired by Philip V of Macedon's ascent of Mount Haemo and that an aged peasant had told him that nobody had ascended Ventoux before or after himself, 50 years before, and warned him against attempting to do so. The nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt noted that Jean Buridan had climbed the same mountain a few years before, and ascents accomplished during the Middle Ages have been recorded, including that of Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne.[16][17]

Scholars[18] note that Petrarch's letter[19][20] to Dionigi displays a strikingly "modern" attitude of aesthetic gratification in the grandeur of the scenery and is still often cited in books and journals devoted to the sport of mountaineering. In Petrarch, this attitude is coupled with an aspiration for a virtuous Christian life, and on reaching the summit, he took from his pocket a volume by his beloved mentor, Saint Augustine, that he always carried with him.[21]

For pleasure alone he climbed Mont Ventoux, which rises to more than six thousand feet, beyond Vaucluse. It was no great feat, of course; but he was the first recorded Alpinist of modern times, the first to climb a mountain merely for the delight of looking from its top. (Or almost the first; for in a high pasture he met an old shepherd, who said that fifty years before he had attained the summit, and had got nothing from it save toil and repentance and torn clothing.) Petrarch was dazed and stirred by the view of the Alps, the mountains around Lyons, the Rhone, the Bay of Marseilles. He took Augustine's Confessions from his pocket and reflected that his climb was merely an allegory of aspiration toward a better life.[22]

As the book fell open, Petrarch's eyes were immediately drawn to the following words:

And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.[19]

Petrarch's response was to turn from the outer world of nature to the inner world of "soul":

I closed the book, angry with myself that I should still be admiring earthly things who might long ago have learned from even the pagan philosophers that nothing is wonderful but the soul, which, when great itself, finds nothing great outside itself. Then, in truth, I was satisfied that I had seen enough of the mountain; I turned my inward eye upon myself, and from that time not a syllable fell from my lips until we reached the bottom again. [...] [W]e look about us for what is to be found only within. [...] How many times, think you, did I turn back that day, to glance at the summit of the mountain which seemed scarcely a cubit high compared with the range of human contemplation [...][19]

James Hillman argues that this rediscovery of the inner world is the real significance of the Ventoux event.[23] The Renaissance begins not with the ascent of Mont Ventoux but with the subsequent descent—the "return [...] to the valley of soul", as Hillman puts it. Arguing against such a singular and hyperbolic periodization, Paul James suggests a different reading:

In the alternative argument that I want to make, these emotional responses, marked by the changing senses of space and time in Petrarch’s writing, suggest a person caught in unsettled tension between two different but contemporaneous ontological formations: the traditional and the modern.[24]

Later years

Petrarch spent the later part of his life journeying through northern Italy as an international scholar and poet-diplomat. His career in the Church did not allow him to marry, but he is believed to have fathered two children by a woman or women unknown to posterity. A son, Giovanni, was born in 1337, and a daughter, Francesca, was born in 1343. Both he later legitimized.[25]

Petrarch's Arquà house near Padua where he retired to spend his last years
Petrarch's Arquà house near Padua where he retired to spend his last years

Giovanni died of the plague in 1361. In the same year Petrarch was named canon in Monselice near Padua. Francesca married Francescuolo da Brossano (who was later named executor of Petrarch's will) that same year. In 1362, shortly after the birth of a daughter, Eletta (the same name as Petrarch's mother), they joined Petrarch in Venice to flee the plague then ravaging parts of Europe. A second grandchild, Francesco, was born in 1366, but died before his second birthday. Francesca and her family lived with Petrarch in Venice for five years from 1362 to 1367 at Palazzo Molina; although Petrarch continued to travel in those years. Between 1361 and 1369 the younger Boccaccio paid the older Petrarch two visits. The first was in Venice, the second was in Padua.

About 1368 Petrarch and his daughter Francesca (with her family) moved to the small town of Arquà in the Euganean Hills near Padua, where he passed his remaining years in religious contemplation. He died in his house in Arquà early on July 20, 1374—his seventieth birthday. The house hosts now a permanent exhibition of Petrarchian works and curiosities; among others you find the famous tomb of Petrarch's beloved cat who was embalmed. On the marble slab there is a Latin inscription written by Antonio Quarenghi:

Etruscus gemino vates ardebat amore:
Maximus ignis ego; Laura secundus erat.
Quid rides? divinæ illam si gratia formæ,
Me dignam eximio fecit amante fides.
Si numeros geniumque sacris dedit illa libellis
Causa ego ne sævis muribus esca forent.
Arcebam sacro vivens a limine mures,
Ne domini exitio scripta diserta forent;
Incutio trepidis eadem defuncta pavorem,
Et viget exanimi in corpore prisca fides.[26]

Petrarch's will (dated April 4, 1370) leaves 50 florins to Boccaccio "to buy a warm winter dressing gown"; various legacies (a horse, a silver cup, a lute, a Madonna) to his brother and his friends; his house in Vaucluse to its caretaker; for his soul, and for the poor; and the bulk of his estate to his son-in-law, Francescuolo da Brossano, who is to give half of it to "the person to whom, as he knows, I wish it to go"; presumably his daughter, Francesca, Brossano's wife. The will mentions neither the property in Arquà nor his library; Petrarch's library of notable manuscripts was already promised to Venice, in exchange for the Palazzo Molina. This arrangement was probably cancelled when he moved to Padua, the enemy of Venice, in 1368. The library was seized by the lords of Padua, and his books and manuscripts are now widely scattered over Europe.[27] Nevertheless, the Biblioteca Marciana traditionally claimed this bequest as its founding, although it was in fact founded by Cardinal Bessarion in 1468.[28]


Original lyrics by Petrarch, found in 1985 in Erfurt
Original lyrics by Petrarch, found in 1985 in Erfurt
Petrarch's Virgil (title page) (c. 1336) Illuminated manuscript by Simone Martini, 29 x 20 cm Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.
Petrarch's Virgil (title page) (c. 1336)
Illuminated manuscript by Simone Martini, 29 x 20 cm Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.
The Triumph of Death, or The 3 Fates. Flemish tapestry (probably Brussels, c. 1510–1520). Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The three Fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, who spin, draw out and cut the thread of life, represent Death in this tapestry, as they triumph over the fallen body of Chastity. This is the third subject in Petrarch's poem "The Great Triumphs". First, Love triumphs; then Love is overcome by Chastity, Chastity by Death, Death by Fame, Fame by Time and Time by Eternity
The Triumph of Death, or The 3 Fates. Flemish tapestry (probably Brussels, c. 1510–1520). Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The three Fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, who spin, draw out and cut the thread of life, represent Death in this tapestry, as they triumph over the fallen body of Chastity. This is the third subject in Petrarch's poem "The Great Triumphs". First, Love triumphs; then Love is overcome by Chastity, Chastity by Death, Death by Fame, Fame by Time and Time by Eternity

Petrarch is best known for his Italian poetry, notably the Canzoniere ("Songbook") and the Trionfi ("Triumphs"). However, Petrarch was an enthusiastic Latin scholar and did most of his writing in this language. His Latin writings include scholarly works, introspective essays, letters, and more poetry. Among them are Secretum Meum ("My Secret Book"), an intensely personal, guilt-ridden imaginary dialogue with Augustine of Hippo; De Viris Illustribus ("On Famous Men"), a series of moral biographies; Rerum Memorandarum Libri, an incomplete treatise on the cardinal virtues; De Otio Religiosorum ("On Religious Leisure")[29] and De Vita Solitaria ("On the Solitary Life"), which praise the contemplative life; De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae ("Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul"), a self-help book which remained popular for hundreds of years; Itinerarium ("Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land"); invectives against opponents such as doctors, scholastics, and the French; the Carmen Bucolicum, a collection of 12 pastoral poems; and the unfinished epic Africa. He translated seven psalms, a collection known as the Penitential Psalms.[30]

Petrarch revived the work and letters of the ancient Roman Senator Marcus Tullius Cicero
Petrarch revived the work and letters of the ancient Roman Senator Marcus Tullius Cicero

Petrarch also published many volumes of his letters, including a few written to his long-dead friends from history such as Cicero and Virgil. Cicero, Virgil, and Seneca were his literary models. Most of his Latin writings are difficult to find today, but several of his works are available in English translations. Several of his Latin works are scheduled to appear in the Harvard University Press series I Tatti.[31] It is difficult to assign any precise dates to his writings because he tended to revise them throughout his life.

Petrarch collected his letters into two major sets of books called Epistolae familiares ("Letters on Familiar Matters") and Seniles ("Letters of Old Age"), both of which are available in English translation.[32] The plan for his letters was suggested to him by knowledge of Cicero's letters. These were published "without names" to protect the recipients, all of whom had close relationships to Petrarch. The recipients of these letters included Philippe de Cabassoles, bishop of Cavaillon; Ildebrandino Conti, bishop of Padua; Cola di Rienzo, tribune of Rome; Francesco Nelli, priest of the Prior of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Florence; and Niccolò di Capoccia, a cardinal and priest of Saint Vitalis. His "Letter to Posterity" (the last letter in Seniles)[33] gives an autobiography and a synopsis of his philosophy in life. It was originally written in Latin and was completed in 1371 or 1372—the first such autobiography in a thousand years (since Saint Augustine).[34][35]

While Petrarch's poetry was set to music frequently after his death, especially by Italian madrigal composers of the Renaissance in the 16th century, only one musical setting composed during Petrarch's lifetime survives. This is Non al suo amante by Jacopo da Bologna, written around 1350.

Laura and poetry

On April 6, 1327,[36] after Petrarch gave up his vocation as a priest, the sight of a woman called "Laura" in the church of Sainte-Claire d'Avignon awoke in him a lasting passion, celebrated in the Rime sparse ("Scattered rhymes"). Later, Renaissance poets who copied Petrarch's style named this collection of 366 poems Il Canzoniere ("Song Book").[37] Laura may have been Laura de Noves, the wife of Count Hugues de Sade (an ancestor of the Marquis de Sade). There is little definite information in Petrarch's work concerning Laura, except that she is lovely to look at, fair-haired, with a modest, dignified bearing. Laura and Petrarch had little or no personal contact. According to his "Secretum", she refused him because she was already married. He channeled his feelings into love poems that were exclamatory rather than persuasive, and wrote prose that showed his contempt for men who pursue women. Upon her death in 1348, the poet found that his grief was as difficult to live with as was his former despair. Later in his "Letter to Posterity", Petrarch wrote: "In my younger days I struggled constantly with an overwhelming but pure love affair—my only one, and I would have struggled with it longer had not premature death, bitter but salutary for me, extinguished the cooling flames. I certainly wish I could say that I have always been entirely free from desires of the flesh, but I would be lying if I did".

While it is possible she was an idealized or pseudonymous character—particularly since the name "Laura" has a linguistic connection to the poetic "laurels" Petrarch coveted—Petrarch himself always denied it. His frequent use of l'aura is also remarkable: for example, the line "Erano i capei d'oro a l'aura sparsi" may both mean "her hair was all over Laura's body", and "the wind ("l'aura") blew through her hair". There is psychological realism in the description of Laura, although Petrarch draws heavily on conventionalised descriptions of love and lovers from troubadour songs and other literature of courtly love. Her presence causes him unspeakable joy, but his unrequited love creates unendurable desires, inner conflicts between the ardent lover and the mystic Christian, making it impossible to reconcile the two. Petrarch's quest for love leads to hopelessness and irreconcilable anguish, as he expresses in the series of paradoxes in Rima 134 "Pace non trovo, et non ò da far guerra;/e temo, et spero; et ardo, et son un ghiaccio": "I find no peace, and yet I make no war:/and fear, and hope: and burn, and I am ice".[38]

Laura is unreachable – the few physical descriptions of her are vague, almost impalpable as the love he pines for, and such is perhaps the power of his verse, which lives off the melodies it evokes against the fading, diaphanous image that is no more consistent than a ghost. Francesco De Sanctis remarks much the same thing in his Storia della letteratura italiana, and contemporary critics agree on the powerful music of his verse. Perhaps the poet was inspired by a famous singer he met in Veneto around the 1350s.[39] Gianfranco Contini, in a famous essay on Petrarch's language ("Preliminari sulla lingua del Petrarca". Petrarca, Canzoniere. Turin, Einaudi, 1964) has spoken of linguistic indeterminacy—Petrarch never rises above the "bel pié" (her lovely foot): Laura is too holy to be painted; she is an awe-inspiring goddess. Sensuality and passion are suggested rather by the rhythm and music that shape the vague contours of the lady. In addition, some today consider Laura to be a representation of an "ideal Renaissance woman", based on her nature and definitive characteristics.

Sonnet 227

Original Italian[40] English translation by A.S. Kline[41]

Aura che quelle chiome bionde et crespe
cercondi et movi, et se’ mossa da loro,
soavemente, et spargi quel dolce oro,
et poi ’l raccogli, e ’n bei nodi il rincrespe,

tu stai nelli occhi ond’amorose vespe
mi pungon sí, che ’nfin qua il sento et ploro,
et vacillando cerco il mio tesoro,
come animal che spesso adombre e ’ncespe:

ch’or me ’l par ritrovar, et or m’accorgo
ch’i’ ne son lunge, or mi sollievo or caggio,
ch’or quel ch’i’ bramo, or quel ch’è vero scorgo.

Aër felice, col bel vivo raggio
rimanti; et tu corrente et chiaro gorgo,
ché non poss’io cangiar teco vïaggio?

Breeze, blowing that blonde curling hair,
stirring it, and being softly stirred in turn,
scattering that sweet gold about, then
gathering it, in a lovely knot of curls again,

you linger around bright eyes whose loving sting
pierces me so, till I feel it and weep,
and I wander searching for my treasure,
like a creature that often shies and kicks:

now I seem to find her, now I realise
she’s far away, now I’m comforted, now despair,
now longing for her, now truly seeing her.

Happy air, remain here with your
living rays: and you, clear running stream,
why can’t I exchange my path for yours?


Dante Alighieri, detail from a Luca Signorelli fresco in the chapel of San Brizio, Duomo, Orvieto.
Dante Alighieri, detail from a Luca Signorelli fresco in the chapel of San Brizio, Duomo, Orvieto.

Petrarch is a world apart from Dante and his Divina Commedia. In spite of the metaphysical subject, the Commedia is deeply rooted in the cultural and social milieu of turn-of-the-century Florence: Dante's rise to power (1300) and exile (1302), his political passions call for a "violent" use of language, where he uses all the registers, from low and trivial to sublime and philosophical. Petrarch confessed to Boccaccio that he had never read the Commedia, remarks Contini, wondering whether this was true or Petrarch wanted to distance himself from Dante. Dante's language evolves as he grows old, from the courtly love of his early stilnovistic Rime and Vita nuova to the Convivio and Divina Commedia, where Beatrice is sanctified as the goddess of philosophy—the philosophy announced by the Donna Gentile at the death of Beatrice.[42]

In contrast, Petrarch's thought and style are relatively uniform throughout his life—he spent much of it revising the songs and sonnets of the Canzoniere rather than moving to new subjects or poetry. Here, poetry alone provides a consolation for personal grief, much less philosophy or politics (as in Dante), for Petrarch fights within himself (sensuality versus mysticism, profane versus Christian literature), not against anything outside of himself. The strong moral and political convictions which had inspired Dante belong to the Middle Ages and the libertarian spirit of the commune; Petrarch's moral dilemmas, his refusal to take a stand in politics, his reclusive life point to a different direction, or time. The free commune, the place that had made Dante an eminent politician and scholar, was being dismantled: the signoria was taking its place. Humanism and its spirit of empirical inquiry, however, were making progress—but the papacy (especially after Avignon) and the empire (Henry VII, the last hope of the white Guelphs, died near Siena in 1313) had lost much of their original prestige.[43]

Petrarch polished and perfected the sonnet form inherited from Giacomo da Lentini and which Dante widely used in his Vita nuova to popularise the new courtly love of the Dolce Stil Novo. The tercet benefits from Dante's terza rima (compare the Divina Commedia), the quatrains prefer the ABBA–ABBA to the ABAB–ABAB scheme of the Sicilians. The imperfect rhymes of u with closed o and i with closed e (inherited from Guittone's mistaken rendering of Sicilian verse) are excluded, but the rhyme of open and closed o is kept. Finally, Petrarch's enjambment creates longer semantic units by connecting one line to the following. The vast majority (317) of Petrarch's 366 poems collected in the Canzoniere (dedicated to Laura) were sonnets, and the Petrarchan sonnet still bears his name.[44]


Statue of Petrarch on the Uffizi Palace, in Florence
Statue of Petrarch on the Uffizi Palace, in Florence

Petrarch is traditionally called the father of Humanism and considered by many to be the "father of the Renaissance."[45] In his work Secretum meum he points out that secular achievements did not necessarily preclude an authentic relationship with God. Petrarch argued instead that God had given humans their vast intellectual and creative potential to be used to their fullest.[46] He inspired humanist philosophy which led to the intellectual flowering of the Renaissance. He believed in the immense moral and practical value of the study of ancient history and literature—that is, the study of human thought and action. Petrarch was a devout Catholic and did not see a conflict between realizing humanity's potential and having religious faith.

A highly introspective man, he shaped the nascent humanist movement a great deal because many of the internal conflicts and musings expressed in his writings were seized upon by Renaissance humanist philosophers and argued continually for the next 200 years. For example, Petrarch struggled with the proper relation between the active and contemplative life, and tended to emphasize the importance of solitude and study. In a clear disagreement with Dante, in 1346 Petrarch argued in his De vita solitaria that Pope Celestine V's refusal of the papacy in 1294 was as a virtuous example of solitary life.[47] Later the politician and thinker Leonardo Bruni (1370–1444) argued for the active life, or "civic humanism". As a result, a number of political, military, and religious leaders during the Renaissance were inculcated with the notion that their pursuit of personal fulfillment should be grounded in classical example and philosophical contemplation.[48]


Petrarch's tomb at Arquà Petrarca
Petrarch's tomb at Arquà Petrarca

Petrarch's influence is evident in the works of Serafino Ciminelli from Aquila (1466–1500) and in the works of Marin Držić (1508–1567) from Dubrovnik.[49]

The Romantic composer Franz Liszt set three of Petrarch's Sonnets (47, 104, and 123) to music for voice, Tre sonetti del Petrarca, which he later would transcribe for solo piano for inclusion in the suite Années de Pèlerinage. Liszt also set a poem by Victor Hugo, " O quand je dors" in which Petrarch and Laura are invoked as the epitome of erotic love.

While in Avignon in 1991, Modernist composer Elliott Carter completed his solo flute piece Scrivo in Vento which is in part inspired by and structured by Petrarch's Sonnet 212, Beato in sogno. It was premiered on Petrarch's 687th birthday.[50]

In November 2003, it was announced that pathological anatomists would be exhuming Petrarch's body from his casket in Arquà Petrarca, in order to verify 19th-century reports that he had stood 1.83 meters (about six feet), which would have been tall for his period. The team from the University of Padua also hoped to reconstruct his cranium in order to generate a computerized image of his features to coincide with his 700th birthday. The tomb had been opened previously in 1873 by Professor Giovanni Canestrini, also of Padua University. When the tomb was opened, the skull was discovered in fragments and a DNA test revealed that the skull was not Petrarch's,[51] prompting calls for the return of Petrarch's skull.

The researchers are fairly certain that the body in the tomb is Petrarch's due to the fact that the skeleton bears evidence of injuries mentioned by Petrarch in his writings, including a kick from a donkey when he was 42.[52]

Works in English translation

See also


  1. ^ This designation appears, for instance, in a recent review of Carol Quillen's Rereading the Renaissance.
  2. ^ In the Prose della volgar lingua, Bembo proposes Petrarch and Boccaccio as models of Italian style, while expressing reservations about emulating Dante's usage.
  3. ^ a b Renaissance or Prenaissance, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 4, No. 1. (Jan. 1943), pp. 69–74; Theodore E. Mommsen, "Petrarch's Conception of the 'Dark Ages'" Speculum 17.2 (April 1942: 226–242); JSTOR link to a collection of several letters in the same issue.
  4. ^ a b J.H. Plumb, The Italian Renaissance, 1961; Chapter XI by Morris Bishop "Petrarch", pp. 161–175; New York, American Heritage Publishing, ISBN 0-618-12738-0
  5. ^ after "Albertino Mussato" who was the first to be so crowned according to Robert Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity (Oxford, 1973)
  6. ^ Plumb, p. 164
  7. ^ Pietrangeli (1981), p. 32
  8. ^ Kirkham, Victoria (2009). Petrarch: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0226437439.
  9. ^ NSA Family Encyclopedia, Petrarch, Francesco, Vol. 11, p. 240, Standard Education Corp. 1992
  10. ^ Bishop, Morris Petrarch and his World, p. 92, Indiana University Press 1963, ISBN 0-8046-1730-9
  11. ^ Plumb, J.H. (1965). Renaissance Profiles (PDF). Harper & Row. p. 4. ISBN 978-0061311628.
  12. ^ Vittore Branca, Boccaccio; The Man and His Works, tr. Richard Monges, pp. 113–118
  13. ^ Ep. Fam. 18.2 §9
  14. ^ "History – Biblioteca Capitolare Verona".
  15. ^ Nicolson, Marjorie Hope; Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory: The Development of the Aesthetics of the Infinite (1997), p. 49; ISBN 0-295-97577-6
  16. ^ Burckhardt, Jacob. The Civilisation of the Period of the Renaissance in Italy (1860). Translated by S.G.C. Middlemore. Swan Sonnenschein (1904), pp. 301–302.
  17. ^ Lynn Thorndike, Renaissance or Prenaissance, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 4, No. 1. (Jan. 1943), pp. 69–74. JSTOR link to a collection of several letters in the same issue.
  18. ^ Such as J.H. Plumb, in his book The Italian Renaissance,
  19. ^ a b c Familiares 4.1 translated by Morris Bishop, quoted in Plumb.
  20. ^ Asher, Lyell (1993). "Petrarch at the Peak of Fame". PMLA. 108 (5): 1050–1063. doi:10.2307/462985. JSTOR 462985.
  21. ^ McLaughlin, Edward Tompkins; Studies in Medieval Life and Literature, p. 6, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1894
  22. ^ Plumb, J.H. (1961). The Horizon Book of the Renaissance. New York: American Heritage. p. 26.
  23. ^ Hillman, James (1977). <i>Revisioning Psychology</i>. Harper & Row. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-06-090563-7.
  24. ^ James, Paul (Spring 2014). "Emotional Ambivalence across Times and Spaces: Mapping Petrarch's Intersecting Worlds". Exemplaria. 26 (1): 82. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  25. ^ Plumb, p. 165
  26. ^ The last lay of Petrarch's cat, Notes and Queries, Vol. V, Number 121, February 21, 1852, Author: Various, Editor: George Bell
  27. ^ Bishop, pp. 360, 366. Francesca and the quotes from there;[clarification needed] Bishop adds that the dressing-gown was a piece of tact: "fifty florins would have bought twenty dressing-gowns".
  28. ^ Wikisource Tedder, Henry Richard; Brown, James Duff (1911). "Libraries § Italy" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 573.
  29. ^ Francesco Petrarch, On Religious Leisure (De otio religioso), edited & translated by Susan S. Schearer, introduction by Ronald G. Witt (New York: Italica Press, 2002).
  30. ^ Sturm-Maddox, Sara (2010). Petrarch's Laurels. Pennsylvania State UP. p. 153. ISBN 978-0271040745.
  31. ^ "I Tatti Renaissance Library/Forthcoming and Published Volumes". Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  32. ^ Letters on Familiar Matters (Rerum familiarium libri), translated by Aldo S. Bernardo, 3 vols.' and Letters of Old Age (Rerum senilium libri), translated by Aldo S. Bernardo, Saul Levin & Reta A. Bernardo, 2 vols.
  33. ^ Petrarch's Letter to Posterity (1909 English translation, with notes, by James Harvey Robinson)
  34. ^ Wilkins Ernest H (1964). "On the Evolution of Petrarch's Letter to Posterity". Speculum. 39 (2): 304–308. doi:10.2307/2852733. JSTOR 2852733.
  35. ^ Plumb, p. 173
  36. ^ April 6, 1327 is often thought to be Good Friday based on poems 3 and 211 of Petrarch's Il Canzoniere, but in fact that date fell on Monday in 1327. The apparent explanation is that Petrarch was not referring to the variable date of Good Friday but to the date fixed by the death of Christ in absolute time, which at the time was thought to be April 6 (Mark Musa, Petrarch's Canzoniere, Indiana University Press, 1996, p. 522).
  37. ^ Petrarch (March 4, 2004). "Petrarch". Petrarch. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  38. ^ "Petrarch (1304–1374). The Complete Canzoniere: 123–183".
  39. ^ Anna Chiappinelli, "La Dolce Musica Nova di Francesco Landini" Sidereus Nuncius, 2007, pp. 55–91 [1] Archived February 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^[full citation needed]
  41. ^[full citation needed]
  42. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ "The Oregon Petrarch Open Book – "Petrarch is again in sight"".
  44. ^ "Movements : Poetry through the Ages".
  45. ^ See for example Rudolf Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship 1300–1850, Oxford University Press, 1976, p. 1; Gilbert Highet, The Classical Tradition, Oxford University Press, 1949, p. 81–88.
  46. ^ Famous First Facts International, H.W. Wilson Company, New York 2000, ISBN 0-8242-0958-3, p. 303, item 4567.
  47. ^ Petrarca, Francesco (1879). De vita Solitaria (in Italian). Bologna: Gaetano Romagnoli.
  48. ^ ", Il Rinascimento" (in Italian). Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  49. ^ Encyclopedia of the Renaissance: Class-Furió Ceriol, Vol. 2, p. 106, Paul F. Grendler, Renaissance Society of America, Scribner's published in association with the Renaissance Society of America, 1999. ISBN 978-0-684-80509-2
  50. ^ Spencer, Patricia (2008) "Regarding Scrivo in Vento: A Conversation with Elliott Carter" Flutest Quarterly summer.
  51. ^ Caramelli D, Lalueza-Fox C, Capelli C, et al. (November 2007). "Genetic analysis of the skeletal remains attributed to Francesco Petrarch". Forensic Sci. Int. 173 (1): 36–40. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2007.01.020. PMID 17320326.
  52. ^ "" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 6, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2009.


Further reading

  • Bernardo, Aldo (1983). "Petrarch." In Dictionary of the Middle Ages, volume 9
  • Celenza, Christopher S. (2017). Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer. London: Reaktion. ISBN 978-1780238388
  • Hennigfeld, Ursula (2008). Der ruinierte Körper. Petrarkistische Sonette in transkultureller Perspektive. Würzburg, Königshausen & Neumann, 2008, ISBN 978-3-8260-3768-9
  • Hollway-Calthrop, Henry (1907). Petrarch: His Life and Times, Methuen. From Google Books
  • Kohl, Benjamin G. (1978). "Francesco Petrarch: Introduction; How a Ruler Ought to Govern His State," in The Earthly Republic: Italian Humanists on Government and Society, ed. Benjamin G. Kohl and Ronald G. Witt, 25–78. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1097-2
  • Nauert, Charles G. (2006). Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe: Second Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-54781-4
  • Rawski, Conrad H. (1991). Petrarch's Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul A Modern English Translation of De remediis utriusque Fortune, with a Commentary. ISBN 0-253-34849-8
  • Robinson, James Harvey (1898). Petrarch, the First Modern Scholar and Man of Letters Harvard University
  • Kirkham, Victoria and Armando Maggi (2009). Petrarch: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-43741-5.
  • A. Lee, Petrarch and St. Augustine: Classical Scholarship, Christian Theology and the Origins of the Renaissance in Italy, Brill, Leiden, 2012, ISBN 978-9004224032
  • N. Mann, Petrarca [Ediz. orig. Oxford University Press (1984)] – Ediz. ital. a cura di G. Alessio e L. Carlo Rossi – Premessa di G. Velli, LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 1993, ISBN 88-7916-021-4
  • Il Canzoniere» di Francesco Petrarca. La Critica Contemporanea, G. Barbarisi e C. Berra (edd.), LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 1992, ISBN 88-7916-005-2
  • G. Baldassari, Unum in locum. Strategie macrotestuali nel Petrarca politico, LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 2006, ISBN 88-7916-309-4
  • Francesco Petrarca, Rerum vulgarium Fragmenta. Edizione critica di Giuseppe Savoca, Olschki, Firenze, 2008, ISBN 978-88-222-5744-4
  • Plumb, J. H., The Italian Renaissance, Houghton Mifflin, 2001, ISBN 0-618-12738-0
  • Giuseppe Savoca, Il Canzoniere di Petrarca. Tra codicologia ed ecdotica, Olschki, Firenze, 2008, ISBN 978-88-222-5805-2
  • Roberta Antognini, Il progetto autobiografico delle "Familiares" di Petrarca, LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 2008, ISBN 978-88-7916-396-5
  • Paul Geyer und Kerstin Thorwarth (hg), Petrarca und die Herausbildung des modernen Subjekts (Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009) (Gründungsmythen Europas in Literatur, Musik und Kunst, 2)

External links

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