Francesco Petrarca was one of the most celebrated authors of fourteenth-century Italy, famous for his poetic, philosophical, and other writings, for his mastery of Latin and vernacular literature, and for his
(supposedly) exemplary lifestyle. He was read and imitated all over Europe, sought out by enthusiastic followers, even venerated as a living saint. He was revered as a love poet, as a moral philosopher, as a humanist.
This course will concentrate on the letters of Petrarch. The goal is to familiarize students with his contribution to the literary and cultural movement known as Renaissance humanism. Ideally, students should leave the course with a better understanding of Italian literary and intellectual culture and of the world of late medieval Europe.