The Worlds of Petrarch

Duke Monographs in Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Book 14
Duke University Press
Free sample

At the center of Petrarch's vision, announcing a new way of seeing the world, was the individual, a sense of the self that would one day become the center of modernity as well. This self, however, seemed to be fragmented in Petrarch's work, divided among the worlds of philosophy, faith, and love of the classics, politics, art, and religion, of Italy, France, Greece, and Rome. In recent decades scholars have explored each of these worlds in depth. In this work, Giuseppe Mazzotta shows for the first time how all these fragmentary explorations relate to each other, how these separate worlds are part of a common vision.
Written in a clear and passionate style, The Worlds of Petrarch takes us into the politics of culture, the poetic imagination, into history and ethics, art and music, rhetoric and theology. With this encyclopedic strategy, Mazzotta is able to demonstrate that the self for Petrarch is not a unified whole but a unity of parts, and, at the same time, that culture emerges not from a consensus but from a conflict of ideas produced by opposition and dark passion. These conflicts, intrinsic to Petrarch's style of thought, lead Mazzotta to a powerful rethinking of the concepts of "fragments" and "unity" and, finally, to a new understanding of the relationship between them.
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About the author

Giuseppe Mazzotta is Professor and Chair, Italian Language and Literature Department, Yale University. His is the author of Dante, Poet of the Desert, The World at Play, and Dante's Vision and the Circle of Knowledge.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Oct 19, 1993
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Pages
248
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ISBN
9780822382614
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Medieval
Poetry / European / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In a masterly synthesis of historical and literary analysis, Giuseppe Mazzotta shows how medieval knowledge systems--the cycle of the liberal arts, ethics, politics, and theology--interacted with poetry and elevated the Divine Comedy to a central position in shaping all other forms of discursive knowledge. To trace the circle of Dante's intellectual concerns, Mazzotta examines the structure and aims of medieval encyclopedias, especially in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; the medieval classification of knowledge; the battle of the arts; the role of the imagination; the tension between knowledge and vision; and Dante's theological speculations in his constitution of what Mazzotta calls aesthetic, ludic theology. As a poet, Dante puts himself at the center of intellectual debates of his time and radically redefines their configuration. In this book, Mazzotta offers powerful new readings of a poet who stands amid his culture's crisis and fragmentation, one who responds to and counters them in his work. In a critical gesture that enacts Dante's own insight, Mazzotta's practice is also a fresh contribution to the theoretical literary debates of the present.

Originally published in 1992.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

For today's readers, the great Italian philosopher of history Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) can be startlingly relevant to the social and educational divisiveness we confront at century's end: here Giuseppe Mazzotta, one of the leading Italianists in the United States, shows how much Vico, properly read, can bring to an understanding of contemporary social problems. To explore Vico's body of thought in all its monumental complexity, Mazzotta highlights the place of poetry, or "writerliness," in Vico's educational project, which links literature, history, religion, philosophy, and politics. The New Map of the World is the first book since Benedetto Croce's The Philosophy of G. B. Vico (1911) to interpret the immense range of Vico's creativity.

Beginning with Vico's autobiography, Mazzotta explains that Vico's heroic attempt to unite the arts and sciences was meant to offer a desperately needed political unity to modern society. In contrast to past thematic studies of Vico that focus on a single one of his ideas, The New Map of the World explores the vital interaction of the issues that fascinated him: his educational and political project, his sense of the necessity for a new way of conceiving authority, and his belief in the power of poetry. Mazzotta ends by examining Vico's awareness of the tragic limits of politics itself.

Originally published in 1999.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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