Petrarch

PetrarchFrancesco Petrarca or Petrarch as he is commonly anglicized, lived from 1304 to 1374. Petrarch embodied many ideas that are commonly associated with the Renaissance. When he was a young man his father insisted that he should study law. Petrarch was not particularly interested in law. He wanted to enrich himself with wonderful forms of literature such as poetry. However, his father was enraged by this and burned all but one of Petrarch literary books. Petrarch was forced to study law until his father died. At that point he figured that he had no reason to study law anymore and might as well go back to what he loved doing most. He began to develop an interest in ancient manuscripts. Virgil, Cicero, Livy, Horace, Plato, homer, and many more were all authors that he was interested in reading. We see here that Petrarch embodies the spirit of rebirth in ancient texts that many shared during the Renaissance. Also, during the Renaissance there occurred a cultural shift that focused on the self. Examples can be found in many writers during this period. Petrarch is not excluded from these writers. In a love letter that Petrarch wrote he mentioned the woman only two times and mentioned himself twenty-three times. Petrarch shows here that he is interested in himself, perhaps not more than the woman, but he is interested more than others would have been in previous centuries.

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