Zygmunt G. Barański is Serena Professor of Italian Emeritus at the University of Cambridge and Notre Dame Chair of Dante and Italian Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Lino Pertile is Carl A. Pescosolido Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, Massachusetts, and Director of the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, Florence.
In the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta Petrarch reformed the received Italian tradition, creating a new kind of lyric poetry. In particular, he found solutions to the intellectual, linguistic and imaginative problems which Dante’s Divine Comedy posed for the succeeding generation of poets. Petrarch the Poet illumines the complexities of Petrarch’s poetic vision, which is simultaneously a form of autobiographical narrative, a poetic encyclopaedia and a meditation on the nature of poetry.
The book will appeal to Italian specialists, to those interested in European poetry of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and also to readers interested generally in the nature and function of poetry.
By examining the passages in Boccaccio’s Decameron, De casibus, and Esposizioni in which the author rewrites moments in Florentine and Italian history that had also appeared in Dante’s Commedia, Olson illuminates the ways in which Boccaccio expressed his deep ambivalence towards the political and social changes of his era. She illustrates this through an analysis of Dante’s and Boccaccio’s treatments of the idea of courtesy, or cortesia, in an era when the chivalry of the declining aristocracy was being supplanted by the civility of the rising merchant classes.