Petrarch(redirected from Petrarch's last will and testament)
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See his letters tr. by M. Bishop (1966); E. H. Wilkins, Life of Petrarch (1961) and Petrarch and the Renascence (1965). See studies by A. Scaglione (1976), S. Minta (1980), K. Foster (1987), and T. P. Roche, Jr. (1989).
(Francesco Petrarca). Born July 20, 1304, in Arezzo; died July 19, 1374, in Arquà, near Padua. Italian poet.
The son of a Florentine notary who moved to Provence in 1312, Petrarch went to Montpellier in 1316 to study law. In 1320 he moved to Bologna, where he continued his studies. In 1326 he took holy orders and became a Minorite (a member of the Franciscan Order). A precursor of the humanistic culture of the Renaissance, he did not break completely with the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, he critically reappraised Scholasticism, affirmed the freedom of the individual, and enhanced the importance of poetic creativity.
Petrarch’s philosophical treatise in Latin, Secretum meum (My Secret; 1342-43), reflected the clash between the spiritual “I” of the poet, with his striving for literary fame and his celebration of love for a woman, and ascetic morality, from which he had not yet freed himself. His thirst for fame as a poet was also revealed in the short autobiography, Posteritati (Letter to Posterity, 1374). Petrarch was one of the first European humanists to idealize classical antiquity. The narrative poem Africa (1339-42), a Latin work in the style of Vergil’s Aeneid, recounts the history of the Second Punic War. The Bucolicum carmen (1346— 57) are allegorical eclogues.
Petrarch’s Italian lyrics include political verses. In the canzone “My Italy” he writes with bitterness about the fragmentation of the country, anarchy, and internecine strife. Petrarch dedicated the canzone “Generous Spirit” to Cola di Rienzi, calling on him to save the Italian people. Of special importance among Petrarch’s works are the love lyrics dedicated to Laura, whom he claimed to have met in a church in 1327. The Canzoniere, which is divided into two parts (Poems During Laura’s Life and Poems After Laura’s Death), consists of 317 sonnets, 29 canzoni, nine sestinas, seven ballads, and four madrigals. A unique poetic diary, the Canzoniere also reveals the contradiction between the ascetic medieval consciousness and the affirmation of a new vision of the world. Petrarch’s lyrics are linked with Provençal and Sicilian poetry, as well as with the dolce stil nuovo school. At the same time, they represent a new stage in the development of Italian and European poetry. With Petrarch the description of a beloved woman becomes detailed and lifelike, and the feelings of love are depicted as contradictory and changeable.
Petrarch reinvigorated the content of poetry and created a perfect verse form. His verse is musical, and his images elegant. His stylistic techniques (antithesis, the rhetorical question), which reflect the troubled state of his soul and impart a dramatic character to the sonnets, do not disturb the smoothness of his verse and the harmonious quality of his poetry. In addition to the lyrics, Petrarch dedicated to Laura the Triumphs (1354), an allegorical poem in terza rima that is didactic and permeated with asceticism.
Petrarch’s lyric poetry had a tremendous influence on the development of European poetry (Petrarchism). Like Dante and Boccaccio, Petrarch helped to create the Italian literary language.
WORKSEdizione nazionale delle opere di F. Petrarca, vols. 1, 10-14. Florence, 1926-43.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. lirika. Moscow, 1955. [Translated from Italian and with a commentary by A. Efros.]
Kniga pesen. Moscow, 1963. [Compiled and with an introduction and notes by B. Purishev.]
Izbrannoe. Edited and compiled by N. Tomashevskii. Moscow, 1974.
REFERENCESDe Sanctis, F. Istoriia itaVianskoi literatury, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1963-64.
Mokul’skii, S. S. Ital’ianskaia literatura: Vozrozhdenie i Prosveshchenie. Moscow, 1966.
Parandovskii, la. “Petrarka.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1974, no. 6.
Khlodovskii, R. I. F. Petrarka: Poeziia gumanizma. Moscow, 1974.
Bosco, U. F. Petrarca. Bari, 1961.
Curato, B. Introduzione a Petrarca. Cremona .
Storia della letteratura italiana, vol. 2. [Milan, 1965.]
Quaglio, A. E. F Petrarca. [Milan, 1967.]
Forster, L. The Icy Fire: Five Studies in European Petrarchism. London-New York, 1969. (Contains a bibliography.)
Bergin, T. G. Petrarch. New York, 1970. (Contains bibliography.)
N. G. ELINA