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.
The most published and lauded woman writer of early sixteenth-century Italy, Vittoria Colonna (1490–1547) in effect defined what was the "acceptable" face of female authorship for her time. Hailed by the generation's leading male literati as an equal, she was praised both for her impeccable command of Petrarchan style and for the unimpeachable chastity and piety of the persona she promoted through her literary works.
This book presents for the very first time a body of Colonna's verse that reveals much about her poetic aims and outlook, while also casting new light on one of the most famous friendships of the age. Sonnets for Michelangelo, originally presented in manuscript form to her close friend Michelangelo Buonarroti as a personal gift, illustrates the striking beauty and originality of Colonna's mature lyric voice and distinguishes her as a poetic innovator who would be widely imitated by female writers in Italy and Europe in the sixteenth century. After three centuries of relative neglect, this new edition promises to restore Colonna to her rightful place at the forefront of female cultural production in the Renaissance.
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